Qatar bans Disney’s Snow White storybook

Snow White story book as shown in 1937 film (Wikipedia)

Snow White storybook as shown in 1937 film (Wikipedia)

A book based on Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has reportedly been removed from a Qatari private school’s library after it was deemed to contain “indecent” illustrations. The book was an abridged version of the story, part of Penguin Kids series.

Officials from Qatar’s supreme education council were said to have intervened after a complaint from the father of a pupil at the Spanish SEK international school, based in the capital, Doha.

The father said the book contained indecent and inappropriate illustrations and phrases as well as “sexual innuendo”, Al-Sharq newspaper wrote on Thursday.

It is not known which images caused offense, but the book cover shows a smiling Snow White being held by the prince, who in the story revives her with a kiss after she eats a poisoned apple, Doha News reported.

SEK headteacher Vivian Arif told Doha News that the school immediately took action after receiving the complaint.

“The school took immediate action and removed the book from the library and has revised and enforced the procedures to ensure that this type of incident will not happen again. SEK international school Qatar is proud to be established in this country and presents its formal apologies for any offense that this unintended situation may have caused. We deeply respect the culture of Qatar, we are committed to the promotion of its values and principles, and we will keep on working so that our school is always a reference for its commitment and service to the people of Qatar,” Arif was quoted as saying in a statement.

The controversial Snow White story book in the Qatari School.  (Twitter)

The controversial Snow White storybook in the Qatari School. (Twitter)

The school opened in September 2013 and has more than 150 pupils from 27 countries, according to its website. It offers classes for students from the ages of three to 18.

All schools in Qatar are required to follow SEC-issued regulations detailing which books and learning materials are permitted and culturally appropriate. Despite the relatively fast response of removing the book from the school’s library, some people deemed it “not enough”, as they took to twitter to express their anger. Nora Alkubaisi said, “This is not the first time and the SEC has not done anything in the past to hold those responsible accountable. Therefore, such incidents continue to take place and uglier stuff will continue to happen.”

The removal of the book comes less than two weeks after Qatar banned the film The Danish Girl, which is about an artist who has one of the world’s first sex changes, after protests about the movie’s alleged “depravity”.

Snow White’s storybook isn’t the first book to be banned by the Qatari government. In 2012, they banned the comic book series “The Boys” by Garth Ennis, labeling it “sexual” material and, as such, too offensive to be allowed into the country. Jacob M. Appel’s “The Man who Wouldn’t Stand Up” about the modern American society was also banned in 2014 for its depiction of Islam.

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