Oxford University Press Bans Pork Related Material From Books
Oxford University Press (OUP) has banned authors from depicting pork-related products in their children’s books in an apparent attempt to avoid offending Jews and Muslims, the Daily Mail reports.
The new prohibition came up during a conversation about free speech on Radio 4’s Today program and was referred to as “nonsensical political correctness.”
“I’ve got a letter here that was sent out by OUP to an author doing something for young people. Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP was the following: Pigs plus sausages, or anything else which could be perceived as pork,” said Radio 4’s Today presenter Jim Naughtie.
An OUP spokesman justified the new regulations.
“Many of the educational materials we publish in the U.K. are sold in more than 150 countries, and as such they need to consider a range of cultural differences and sensitivities.”
However, these new measures have received considerable backlash from prominent figures.
Tory Member of Parliament (MP) Philip Davies stated that “no word is offensive. It is in the context in which it is used that is offensive … we have to to get a grip on this nonsensical political correctness.”
“That’s absolute utter nonsense. And when people go too far, that brings the whole discussion into disrepute,” agreed Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood.
These new rules have serious implications for the freedom of speech, particularly in context of the recent deadly terrorist attacks in Paris initially targeting the satirical Charlie Hebdo publication.
“Jewish law prohibits eating pork, not the mention of the word, or the animal from which it derives,” said a spokesman for the Jewish Leadership Council.
This is not the first time that non-Muslims in Britain have attempted to self-censor in an effort to avoid actions they believed would offend Muslims. In 2007, organizers of a performance of a children’s play by Roald Dahl at a school in West Yorkshire originally removed the “Three Little Pigs” from the show, in favor of the “Three Little Puppies.” Councillors reversed that decision.
Likewise, two major banks in England in 2005 banned the use of piggy-banks in advertising or as gifts for children because of a perception that the banks would offend Muslims.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.