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LONDON: A title from a popular series of children’s books has been removed by its publisher Oxford University Press over allegations of Islamophobia.

Roderick Hunt and Alex Brychta’s ‘Biff, Chip and Kipper’ series has served as a popular introduction to reading for children in the UK and around the world. It includes more than 800 titles.

But one book, ‘The Blue Eye’, originally published in 2001, faced online criticism last month over its portrayals of the Middle East.

The book tells the story of children magically traveling to a foreign land, which seems to be based on Middle Eastern stereotypes. A souk is described as “scary” and local Muslim characters are considered “unfriendly”.

Social media users slammed the content, with one teacher saying: “I just saw this being shared on Facebook. Wow, am I right to think that’s inappropriate? »

Another user said: “What makes this so bad is that this book is used in school to teach children to read. So they also learn to be Islamophobic at the same time.

Ash Ahmad, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Consultant, said on LinkedIn: “I’m sure, like me, many of you read the books when you were younger and most people loved them. , but because we were so young, we couldn’t see what was wrong with them.

“So inappropriate. People have been brainwashed from an early age to stay away from Muslims who are labeled as scary people.

An OUP spokesperson said: “As part of an ongoing review of our publishing, OUP makes the decision to publish stories when they are deemed to fall below the high standards of diversity and inclusiveness that we wish to promote through our publication. In addition, titles may be changed or updated.

“We regularly review our backlist and make decisions internally and in collaboration with authors on different titles on a case-by-case basis and for various reasons.

“These regular reviews are carried out internally by the Oxford publishing team as well as with independent experts and we look at specific themes and issues, either as a result of user feedback or developments in the news.”


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