Publisher of anti-Islam book to offer apology

By Mohsen Rashid / 16 March 2006

DUBAI — In an unprecedented response to the Ministry of Education’s action on a book found to be defaming Islam, the publisher of the book Cultures of the World has said it would not reprint the textbook and its copies will be withdrawn from all schools teaching it.

 

The Publisher, Pearson Education, said it would not allow re-circulation of the book. The move was in response to the directives of the Private Education Department at the Ministry of Education.

Medeni Menekse, ELT Sales and Marketing Director of Pearson Education, said at a meeting  held here yesterday with Juma Al Salami, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Education for Private and Quality Education, that the book had not been printed for many years and the schools which taught the book had been using old editions.

“Person Education had purchased the company which had supplied the textbooks, and since the takeover, no new edition of the book was printed. Nor was it circulated except in some schools which continued using the old editions,” he explained.

The company will officially apologise to the Ministry of Education, the UAE leadership, the government and the people for the contents of the book, Menekse said. The chairman of the board of directors will specially come to the UAE to apologise to the officials, he assured.

The company is operating in more than 100 countries in the world and supplying textbooks to more than 5 million students, he said, adding that it respects the customs, traditions and culture of the UAE and will not approve circulation of a book that insults the UAE and its religion.

Juma Al Salami said the ministry would not allow the school which teaches the book to go unpunished. He called upon school principals to live up to their nationalistic responsibility by detecting errors in the textbooks taught in their schools.

He said that private schools had a special responsibility because they were the ones which import their textbooks directly from foreign publishers. The measures taken by the ministry include penalising the offending school and issuing a circular banning the circulation and use of the textbooks brought out by the said publisher.

The ministry, he said, has the potential to set on fire all such books which defame Islam, he said. The agreement with the publisher and the keen interest of the president of the company to visit the country to officially apologise to the officials boost the role of government organisations in safeguarding the interests of the country, he added.

In a related development, an Associated Press correspondent wrote to Juma Al Salami seeking details of the controversy regarding the text book. In his letter, he pointed out that the book in question had already been widely criticised in the United States for its factual fallacies and anachronistic details.

Pointing out some glaring errors in the book, a US reviewer had said that mixing of modern geography with ancient history showed up in almost all chapters of the book.

Detailed critical reviews of the book are available at ttp://www.textbook league.org/75ginn.htm

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