Hamas ban on folktales reversed, but not before 1500 copies are destroyed

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The Hamas education minister has reversed an order to remove and destroy copies of an anthology of Palestinian folk tales in school libraries because it contains a few references to sexual body parts.

Nasser Shaer said Saturday that he had not been informed of the ban, which was implemented earlier this week.

"I have decided to correct the illegal measures that were taken regarding disposing the book," Shaer told the Associated Press.

Some 1,500 copies of Speak Bird, Speak Again had already been destroyed, sparking outrage among writers, academics and others who protested the move as a form of censorship...

The 400-page anthology, first published in English in 1989, is narrated by Palestinian women. It was put together by Sharif Kanaana, a novelist and professor at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank and Ibrahim Muhawi, a teacher of Arabic literature.

It wasn't published in Arabic until 2001, and that's when the Palestinian Culture Ministry requested copies to be distributed in schools.

Kanaana said two of the 45 tales contain colloquial Arabic words that refer to body parts.

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