IN an endeavour to avoid offending Jews and Muslims, the textbook writers have been asked by the Oxford University Press,OUP to keep out all references to pigs, pork, sausages and other pork-related items.
The OUP guidelines emerged after a radio discussion on free speech in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Representatives of both communities have told a number of international media outlets that such a ban was unnecessary.
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world, publishing 6,000 new books each year across over 150 countries.
As uttered by a spokesman,
“Many of the educational materials we publish in the UK are sold in more than 150 countries, and as such they need to consider a range of cultural differences and sensitivities. Our editorial guidelines are intended to help ensure that the resources that we produce can be disseminated to the widest possible audience.”
It is now believed that the publishing rules have been ridiculed amid doubts either Muslims or Jews would be offended by mention of farm animals in a children’s book.
Tory MP Philip Davies said,
“How on earth can anyone find the word “pig” or “pork” offensive?
No word is offensive. It is the context in which it is used that is offensive.
On the one hand you have politicians and the great and the good falling over each other to say how much they believe in freedom of speech and on the other hand they are presiding over people being unable to use and write words that are completely inoffensive.
We have got to get a grip on this nonsensical political correctness. The political correctness brigade appear to have taken control of our schools.”
He added further,
“The Secretary of State needs to get a grip over this and make sure this ridiculous ban is stopped at once.”
The Chief Executive of campaigning group Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsberg said,
“It is difficult to imagine any context in which images of everyday objects like pigs or the word itself should be banned from being used in a children’s book.”
A Spokesman for the Jewish Leadership Council commented,
“Jewish law prohibits eating port, not the mention of the word or the animal from which it derives.”
On BBC Radio 4’s Today program, presenter Jim Naughtie said,
“I’ve got a letter here that was sent out by OUP to an author asking to do 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,” he added.
“Now, if a respectable publisher, tied to an academic institution is saying you’ve got to write a book in which you cannot mention pigs because some people might be offended, it just ludicrous. It is just a joke.”
Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said,
“I absolutely agree. That’s absolute utter nonsense. And when people go too far that brings the whole discussion into disrepute.”