Book Ban Turns Intra-Palestinian Fight Cultural ; Hamas's Ban from Schools of a Book of Folklore Has Fueled Moderates' Concern about Greater Islamist Constraints

By Prusher, Ilene R | The Christian Science Monitor, March 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

Book Ban Turns Intra-Palestinian Fight Cultural ; Hamas's Ban from Schools of a Book of Folklore Has Fueled Moderates' Concern about Greater Islamist Constraints


Prusher, Ilene R, The Christian Science Monitor


For more than 30 years, anthropologist Sharif Kanaana has been collecting and studying Palestinian folk tales so that people at home and abroad would understand the story of his people.

This week, the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority (PA) added a new chapter: a directive to pull Professor Kanaana's book from school libraries and destroy it.

"I don't want to generalize about all of Hamas - I rather hope it's a unique case, a mistake by an individual," says Kanaana, a scholarly, bespectacled academic who was just heading into semiretirement when he inadvertently became the poster child of the Palestinian divide between liberals and ultra-conservatives. "Unfortunately, it confirmed some of the worst expectations people had for this government."

The decision underscores the struggle for ideological and political hegemony, one that is making itself felt more strongly than ever before.

While literature lovers and others on the more progressive side of Palestinian society see the order to ban the book as an attack on the cultural freedoms, the Islamist Hamas movement and its supporters see the move as a democratically endorsed step toward protecting students from "harmful" influences and "offensive" language, in the words of one leading official here.

"The book was withdrawn because of the problems with offensive language which contradicts our beliefs and morals," says Sheikh Yazid Khader, who is the director-general of the PA's Ministry of Education.

Hamas says it's guarding values

Religious conservatives say that they didn't like five stories within the 400-page book of folklore, which includes academic explanations and theory, because of references to body parts or human excretion.

The decision to pull the book "Speak Bird, Speak Again," first published in English in 1989 and later in Arabic in Lebanon, was issued by the education ministry last month in a letter to teachers, who were instructed to destroy it.

"Our society depends on Islamic values and has for hundreds of years," continues Sheikh Khader. "Our most important objective is to make curriculum adhere to our social values."

In his viewpoint, too many Western influences are seeping into Palestinian society, and children must be better shielded from them.

"This new generation is unable to distinguish between what is harmful and what is beneficial, so we have to protect them from these harmful influences," he says. "The Israeli occupation is interested in introducing us to Western values that work to destroy our Arab and Muslim values."

The fresh wave of negative press for Hamas, domestically and internationally, comes at a particularly uncomfortable time for the organization, whose name is an acronym that stands for the Islamic Resistance Movement.

Hamas and Fatah, the mainstream and secular political faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), are moving closer to reaching an agreement that would pave the way for the creation of a national unity government. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Book Ban Turns Intra-Palestinian Fight Cultural ; Hamas's Ban from Schools of a Book of Folklore Has Fueled Moderates' Concern about Greater Islamist Constraints
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.