Chris Brooke, Daily Mail (London), March 15, 2007
The story of the Three Little Pigs’ battle with the Big Bad Wolf has delighted children since it was written more than 150 years ago.
But the tale highlighting the merits of hard work and practicality has become the latest to fall victim to political correctness.
A junior school production of the children’s story has been renamed the Three Little Puppies for fear of offending Muslims.
Organisers of a children’s music festival have altered the popular characters and lyrics because of the multi-cultural nature of the youngsters involved and their parents in the audience.
But yesterday Islamic leaders condemned the politically correct move as misguided and said decisions like this were turning Muslims into ‘misfits’ in society.
Children from Honley Church of England Junior School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, were due to perform in a reworking of the popular tale which features the three little pigs.
The youngsters—aged from seven to 11—were due to perform at Huddersfield Town Hall in June with 250 children from 63 schools singing along.
But organisers of the Kirklees Primary Music Festival decided to change the script to be ‘sensitive’ to Muslims at a recent committee meeting.
Committee member Gill Goodswen, head teacher of Stile Common Junior School, defending the move.
She said: “We have to be sensitive if we want to be multi-cultural. It was felt it would be more responsible not to use the three little pigs.
“We feared that some Muslim children wouldn’t sing along to the words about pigs,’ she said.
“We didn’t want to take that risk. If changing a few words avoids offence then we will do so.”
She stressed the decision was not prompted by a complaint from any school.
But Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra from the Muslim Council of Britain branded the move ‘bizarre’.
He said: “The vast majority of Muslims have no problem whatsoever with the Three Little Pigs. It’s always been the traditional way of telling the story and I don’t see why that should be changed.
“There’s an issue about the eating of pork, which is forbidden, but there is no prohibition about reading stories about pigs. This is an unnecessary step.”
Other recent rows have involved ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ being changed to ‘Baa Baa rainbow sheep’ and Christmas events called ‘winter’ festivities.
Mr Mogra said: “How far are we going to go? Are we going to change the seven dwarves because it’s discriminatory towards people who are physically less able? Where do you draw the line?
“Every time we get these stories Muslims are seen more and more as misfits. We have to accept there’s a predominant culture here.”
His views were echoed locally in Huddersfield.
Local councillor Terry Lyons added: “I can’t believe that Muslims would be offended by this. This is pandering to a few extremists. People will take umbrage at this decision, making it easier for the BNP to recruit.”
Mohammed Imran, of the Hanfia Mosque and Educational Institute said: “According to the Koran it’s forbidden to eat pork or touch a pig, but there’s no ruling about talking about them or singing about them.”
Steve Price, head of Honley C of E school, said he had not played a part in the decision, but added: “We are part of the family of Kirklees schools. This family is set up to celebrate children’s talents and I can well understand some head teachers being careful about not causing offence.”