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Schools asked to ban book; Parent of seventh-grader says it promotes hatred toward Arabs
The Patriot Ledger ^ | January 11, 2005 | KAREN GOULART

Posted on 01/11/2005 3:02:55 PM PST by danno3150

DUXBURY - The parent of a Duxbury Middle School student wants a book banned because he believes it teaches hatred toward Arabs.

George Shamma filed a formal complaint about the use of ‘‘One More River'' by Lynne Reid Banks in his daughter's reading class after she came to him upset about passages that use expletives and slurs to describe Arabs. He wants it out of the seventh grade reading curriculum and said he may take legal action if it isn't.

Use of the book is being reviewed, Superintendent of Schools Eileen Williams said. She said the book has been part of the curriculum for three or four years and this is the first complaint.

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee has said Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

‘‘The book, viewed by anybody of an unbiased viewpoint, would deem it to be filth. It's nothing short of that,'' Shamma said. ‘‘It's totally derogatory toward Israeli and Arab people.''

The book is about a privileged teenager whose family moves from Canada to an Israeli kibbutz on the Jordan River. It takes place before, during and after the 1967 Six-Day War.

Shamma, who is of Arab descent, said the book denigrates Arabs and depicts Jews and Israelis as hateful. In his formal complaint, Shamma listed more than a half dozen passages he found objectionable.

He said if the book is not taken out of the curriculum he will sue to have it removed.

‘‘I truly hope it never comes to that,'' Shamma said. ‘‘I don't want to call attention to Duxbury as a place where something like this was a problem.''

This is not the first time the book has been the subject of scrutiny. In 2000 the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee successfully lobbied to have the book removed from the curriculum in Baltimore County, Md., schools.

In Duxbury, students were not assigned to read the entire book by teacher Judy Regan, but were free to do so. Allyson Shamma, 13, read the full text and said it upset her.

‘‘There are a lot of bad things about Arabs in there and how they are mistrusted and they're called by an Israeli swear word,'' Allyson said. ‘‘It made me feel bad. I didn't think kids should be reading it. I didn't think it should be taught in the classroom.''

Shamma said when he filed a formal complaint in October, he was told the lesson involving the book was coming to an end. But it was still being used before the holiday break in December.

Williams said complaints about curriculum are filed with the school's principal and forwarded to Assistant Superintendent Susan Skeiber.

Williams said Duxbury residents who are part of the Muslim and Jewish communities are reviewing the book.

Williams said she doesn't expect a quick decision.

‘‘Obviously, this deals with censorship. That's what the issue is, and it's important that people feel comfortable bringing concerns like this to us that we'll completely examine the claim,'' Williams said.

While the review is under way, the book will continue to be used, but Allyson Shamma will not be required to use it.

She chose not to do a final paper on the book and worked with Duxbury Middle School Principal Joellen Scannell to create an alternative final assignment. She is writing a paper about ‘‘Baghdad Burning,'' a weblog -- that describes a girl's everyday life in that city during the occupation.

Allyson did other assignments related to the book, including making a map of the kibbutz. She said she has read other books by the author and enjoyed them, but ‘‘One More River'' should not be in her school.

‘‘That's what I hope will happen,'' she said.

Williams said reading materials are chosen carefully and often coordinate with what is being studied in other classes. Allyson Shamma said she was learning about the Middle East in social studies class.

Williams, superintendent for 12 years, said she doesn't recall removing any other book from the curriculum, but schools once stopped using an anti-bullying video because of complaints that it was too violent.

Shamma said an attorney at the ACLU suggested he contact the organization, but he has not yet done so.

‘‘Those are resources I hope never have to be tapped,'' Shamma, a former housing authority member and a candidate for selectman last year, said. ‘‘Duxbury is an intelligent town and I think it can be resolved in an intelligent way.''


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arab; arabs; bookburning; cair; censorship; deathcultivation; education; students; terrorwar; waronterror
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BTW - Shamma must have some serious cash to live in Duxbury. I wouldn't underestimate him getting his way, even without the ACLU.
1 posted on 01/11/2005 3:02:55 PM PST by danno3150
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To: danno3150
The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee has said Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.'' Yeah, that sounds about right.
2 posted on 01/11/2005 3:07:02 PM PST by angelr1076
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To: danno3150

The Amazon page on the book;

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0380715635/qid=1105484720/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-7319787-5820108?v=glance&s=books

It sounds like some hippy dippy leftwing book, interestingly enough, though the reviews could be misleading.


3 posted on 01/11/2005 3:07:45 PM PST by swilhelm73 (Like the archers of Agincourt, ... the Swiftboat Veterans took down their own haughty Frenchman.)
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To: danno3150
The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee has said Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

Are the Arab characters in the book backward, cowardly and barbaric? It is permissable to have negative characters in literature, isn't it?

You don't see Britons wanting to ban Dickens because Scrooge and Fagin are vicious and mean, do you?

4 posted on 01/11/2005 3:08:09 PM PST by gridlock (ELIMINATE PERVERSE INCENTIVES)
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To: danno3150

Goodness. I remember reading that book as a little girl. It is not anti-Arab by any means. In fact it is about a recent Israel immigrant girl from Canada making friends with an Arab boy across the Jordan river.


5 posted on 01/11/2005 3:09:38 PM PST by Nataku X (There are no converts in Islam... only hostages.)
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To: danno3150
Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

So, does she want them portrayed as progressive, brave and humane?

That would fly in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
6 posted on 01/11/2005 3:11:30 PM PST by Beckwith (John, you said I was going to be the First Lady. As of now, you're on the couch.)
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To: swilhelm73

I don't remember the book being that way. It's a little bit idealistic, whatwith the little girl trying to make friends with the boy across the river, but it protrayed Israel as being in the right in keeping the land in the war of 1967.


7 posted on 01/11/2005 3:12:13 PM PST by Nataku X (There are no converts in Islam... only hostages.)
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To: danno3150
...Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

Available in the "World History" section of your favorite book store.

8 posted on 01/11/2005 3:15:32 PM PST by MarineBrat (The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools!)
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To: danno3150

A long article and lot's of opinions but no quotes.


9 posted on 01/11/2005 3:18:10 PM PST by CindyDawg
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To: danno3150
There are a lot of bad things about Arabs in there and how they are mistrusted and they're called by an Israeli swear word

All the Israeli swear words that I know of are Arabic, English or French.

10 posted on 01/11/2005 3:18:51 PM PST by Alouette (Abu Mazen: Arafat after a shower and shave)
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To: danno3150
Oh, and Russian.
11 posted on 01/11/2005 3:19:23 PM PST by Alouette (Abu Mazen: Arafat after a shower and shave)
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To: Alouette

There are no Hebrew swear words?


12 posted on 01/11/2005 3:23:44 PM PST by SauronOfMordor (We are going to fight until hell freezes over and then we are going to fight on the ice)
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To: danno3150

Is the book fiction or non-fiction? Wouldn't that have a lot do do with the complaining?


13 posted on 01/11/2005 3:24:59 PM PST by vpintheak (Liberal = The antithesis of Freedom and Patriotism)
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To: gridlock

Remember that Fagin was Jewish. I've never heard about the Jews trying to ban Oliver Twist, though.


14 posted on 01/11/2005 3:24:59 PM PST by Clemenza (President: Liger Breeders of the Pacific Northwest)
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To: SauronOfMordor
There are no Hebrew swear words?

Does G-D cuss?

15 posted on 01/11/2005 3:25:21 PM PST by Alouette (Abu Mazen: Arafat after a shower and shave)
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To: Alouette

Most Yiddish cursewords came from German.


16 posted on 01/11/2005 3:26:01 PM PST by Clemenza (President: Liger Breeders of the Pacific Northwest)
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To: angelr1076
>>>Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''<<

Not to mention sneaky and murderous!

17 posted on 01/11/2005 3:26:09 PM PST by HardStarboard (PASS)
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To: danno3150
This appears to be a work of fiction.
In America we don't ban books.

I sensed back when Mark Twain was being quoted out of context for the same treatment, that we were on a very short slippery slope.

18 posted on 01/11/2005 3:27:10 PM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen, ignorance and stupidity.)
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To: vpintheak
Is the book fiction or non-fiction? Wouldn't that have a lot do do with the complaining?

Well, I have mixed feelings about that. According to this one comment...

Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

I would agree, non-fiction.

19 posted on 01/11/2005 3:29:55 PM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen, ignorance and stupidity.)
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To: vpintheak
Is the book fiction or non-fiction? Wouldn't that have a lot do do with the complaining?

Well, I have mixed feelings about that. According to this one comment...

Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

I would agree, non-fiction.

20 posted on 01/11/2005 3:29:57 PM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen, ignorance and stupidity.)
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To: danno3150

Looks like a nice place... but wouldn't like to pay their taxes :o)

http://www.city-data.com/city/Duxbury-Massachusetts.html

(probably very liberal)


21 posted on 01/11/2005 3:30:13 PM PST by traumer
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To: danno3150
but schools once stopped using an anti-bullying video because of complaints that it was too violent.

Does this statement seem ridiculous to anybody else (and also indicative of what's wrong with public schools)?

22 posted on 01/11/2005 3:31:56 PM PST by badbass
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To: Clemenza
Most Yiddish cursewords came from German.

And Russian and Polish.

Hebrew doesn't easily lend itself to vulgar insults.

Like my grandmother would say, "You eat with that mouth?"

23 posted on 01/11/2005 3:35:20 PM PST by Alouette (Abu Mazen: Arafat after a shower and shave)
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To: danno3150

I think it's called literary license.


24 posted on 01/11/2005 3:36:59 PM PST by popdonnelly
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To: Alouette
You kidding? With the Hebrew root system, Hebrew is tailor-made for curse words. It chose to borrow its curses from Arabic, Russian and English simply because it had no native curse words in Ben-Yehuda's time.

It picked up Russian curses from immigrants, Arab curses from Arabs, and English curses from the Brits and American tv.

25 posted on 01/11/2005 3:39:28 PM PST by ChicagoHebrew (Hell exists, it is real. It's a quiet green meadow populated entirely by Arab goat herders.)
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To: Clemenza
Remember that Fagin was Jewish. I've never heard about the Jews trying to ban Oliver Twist, though.

SHHH...Don't give Abe Foxman any ideas.

26 posted on 01/11/2005 3:55:33 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Rick Nash will score 50 goals this season ( if there is a season)
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To: traumer

If you can afford the house, you can afford the taxes.

Probably very liberal? This is the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. Would do you think?


27 posted on 01/11/2005 3:56:51 PM PST by danno3150
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To: danno3150
She is writing a paper about ‘‘Baghdad Burning,'' a weblog -- that describes a girl's everyday life in that city during the occupation.

Interesting that she chose probably the most vehemently anti-American of the Iraqi blogs to write her paper about. And this article makes "Baghdad Burning" sound like the modern equivalent of The Diary of Anne Frank. The writer of Baghdad Burning, who uses the nickname "Riverbend", is not a "girl", writing about her "everyday life". She is a young woman in her 20s from a Sunni area of Baghdad who loved "Uncle Saddam", is sorry he's gone and hates Americans.

28 posted on 01/11/2005 3:57:42 PM PST by saquin
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To: ChicagoHebrew
Went to college with a guy from Gaza called, "Mac" (Mahkram). First English words he taught himself were swear words.

Often, his conversations in English were unintelligible, and some of his cussing combinations were hilarious -- but there was no doubt about when the guy was P.O.'d! (LOL!!)

29 posted on 01/11/2005 3:58:47 PM PST by TXnMA (Attention, ACLU: There is no constitutionally protected right to NOT be offended -- Shove It!)
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To: saquin

The paper that ran this article is not exactly a bastion of fine journalism (although what "fine journalism is these days is anybody's guess). I didn't expect any hard-hitting follow up questions, and the writer didn't disappoint. That being said, the blog angle makes this article that much more infuriating.


30 posted on 01/11/2005 4:01:18 PM PST by danno3150
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To: popdonnelly

If I was writing a novel about a man who hated Muslims, I'd probably have that character use some slang words. We live in a very scarey world folks, its only going to get worse. Here come the firemen.....


31 posted on 01/11/2005 4:33:33 PM PST by Portnoy (Fahrenheit 451...Today's Temperature is hotter than you think...)
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To: ChicagoHebrew
Hebrew is tailor-made for curse words. It chose to borrow its curses from Arabic, Russian and English simply because it had no native curse words in Ben-Yehuda's time.

Did you ever think to ask yourself how did Jews cuss each other during, say, King David's time? Simply by grafting Chaldean, Aramean, Canaanite and Philistine words.

One good thing the Tower of Babel was good for: wide variety of cuss words.

32 posted on 01/11/2005 4:34:56 PM PST by Alouette (Abu Mazen: Arafat after a shower and shave)
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To: traumer; danno3150

It's called "Deluxebury"!


33 posted on 01/11/2005 4:40:37 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (A Freep a day keeps the liberals away.)
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To: danno3150
The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee has said Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

uh...Ok, so whats the problem?

34 posted on 01/11/2005 4:42:17 PM PST by cardinal4 (W's 3.5 million pop vote isnt a mandate, but algores .5 million is??)
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To: danno3150

If he can't stand free speech, he should go back to Labanon, or whatever hell-hole he came from.


35 posted on 01/11/2005 4:44:47 PM PST by expatpat
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To: danno3150

I wonder, does the Library have BEAU GEST, BEAU SABURER or BEAU IDEAL?


36 posted on 01/11/2005 4:46:04 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Pity the poor athiest. He has no one to put the blame on.)
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To: Clemenza

However, they don't like "The Merchant of Venice". When was the last time you saw that performed?


37 posted on 01/11/2005 4:46:36 PM PST by expatpat
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To: saquin

Thanks! I knew the name, but could not recall the details from that web site/blog. Was bugging me. I guess I'll get upset about this girl being offended when her family begins a campaign to stop bias, bigotry, and race hatred in Mosques and Islamic schools.


38 posted on 01/11/2005 5:05:39 PM PST by womcg ((was in hospital longer than Kerry was in country) ))
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To: danno3150
One of the wonders of multi-culturalism is that EVERYTHING makes somebody "feel bad." The solution: ban all books.
39 posted on 01/11/2005 5:35:19 PM PST by Malesherbes
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To: expatpat

A lot of people will be offended by Al Pacino's performance.


40 posted on 01/11/2005 6:13:28 PM PST by kenavi ("Remember, your fathers sacrificed themselves without need of a messianic complex." Ariel Sharon)
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To: CindyDawg

Lot's of opinions? Where? And no quotes? I see 8-10. Which article did you read?


41 posted on 01/26/2005 9:54:56 PM PST by Minky13
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To: Minky13

I'm sorry but the window of opportunity to flame me has expired and no reply will be sent. Please try again at a later date on another thread. Thank You. :')


42 posted on 01/26/2005 10:06:26 PM PST by CindyDawg
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To: danno3150

This is interesting. I was out sick from work yesterday (I'm a children's librarian) and my co-worker told me today that someone came in yesterday looking for a book about a Jewish child/teen becoming friendly with an Arab child/ teen. They were vague on the details. I thought it was "Habibi", but now I'm thinking it might have been this one. I'll have to check tomorrow.
BTW, Lynn Reid Banks wrote the whole "Indian in the Cupboard" series which I thought were nicely done.


43 posted on 01/26/2005 10:19:37 PM PST by sunshine state
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To: danno3150
The book is about a privileged teenager whose family moves from Canada to an Israeli kibbutz on the Jordan River. It takes place before, during and after the 1967 Six-Day War.

Right there, this book is over the heads of 98% of the American population, who have no idea about the Six-Day War.

44 posted on 01/26/2005 10:21:29 PM PST by HitmanLV (HitmanNY has a brand new Blog!! Please Visit! - http://www.goldust.com/weblog -)
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To: CindyDawg

Sorry, wasn't really a flame attempt. Just stumbled upon this tonite and found your post, among others, interesting/puzzling. Then I noticed that everyone's outrage fizzled after 3 hours. Good day to you.


45 posted on 01/26/2005 10:22:19 PM PST by Minky13
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To: Beckwith
Arabs in the book are portrays as ‘‘backward ... cowardly, and barbaric.''

So, does she want them portrayed as progressive, brave and humane? backward barbaric and cowardly arab on arab murder caught on video WARNING VIOLENT

46 posted on 01/26/2005 10:29:50 PM PST by freepatriot32 (http://chonlalonde.blogspot.com)
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To: danno3150

The attempt to re-write one girl's historical account of the 1967 war is founded upon defaming her and, amid much denigration and hyperbole, changing the subject to another war in 2004 via a blog.

The old man is gonna lose this one. They ought to call his bluff.


47 posted on 01/26/2005 10:30:04 PM PST by Kryptonite
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To: danno3150

Will they also ban "Mein Quran"?


48 posted on 01/28/2005 8:49:06 AM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: danno3150

You can't have the truth in school.


49 posted on 01/28/2005 8:53:55 AM PST by Jimbaugh (They will not get away with this. Developing . . . . .)
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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