A religious handbook from the Turkish Education Ministry distributed Thursday, November 25 in northern Syria has aroused the anger of the local population because of illustrations depicting the Prophet Muhammad contained in its pages, prompting some to burn the books.
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Although not specifically prohibited in the Qur'an, many Muslims disapprove of visual representations of the Prophet Muhammad considered to be a form of blasphemy.
In the religious textbook, designed specifically for children living in the Turkish-controlled areas of Syria, one image notably shows a bearded man, dressed in a pink sweater and burgundy pants, kneeling to greet his daughter as he she gets off a school bus.
The prophet receives his daughter Fatima,
” reads the same page, although the phrase is not explicitly associated with the image.
"We burned all the books"
In the town of Jarablos near the Turkish border, residents burned any copies of the manual they could find, according to images posted on social media and residents' accounts to AFP.
We were surprised this morning to find these manuals (...) which contain visual representations of the prophet
" and "
we have burned all the books
", said Moustapha Abdulhaq, resident of Jarablos.
In other areas controlled by Ankara including the city of Al-Bab, residents warned they would hold protests on Friday if the textbooks were not recalled.
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Turkey and its allies have taken control of territories in Syria during several military offensives since 2016. In these regions, the Turkish lira has become the main currency and Ankara has even contributed to the establishment of hospitals, medical offices. post and schools teaching Turkish.
Jumaa Kazkaz, the senior education official at al-Bab, said the textbooks were provided by neighboring Turkish provinces, including Gaziantep, Kilis and Sanliurfa.
There are talks with the Directorate of Education in Gaziantep (...) in order to modify the program (...) We are currently awaiting a decision,
" he commented in the face of the outcry.