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North Syria to withdraw Turkish school textbook deemed 'blasphemous'

Local authorities in a region of northern Syria controlled by Turkey have decided to withdraw a school textbook that has sparked anger over a perceived depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, a local official said Friday.

The book produced by Turkey's education ministry was distributed Thursday and contains illustrations that resident deemed blasphemous.

One image in the book shows a bearded man in a pink sweater and burgundy pants collecting his daughter from a school bus.

"The prophet receives his daughter Fatima," reads the title of the page, without specifically referring to the image.

Although visual depictions of the Prophet Mohammed are not explicitly banned in the Koran, many Muslims frown upon them as a form of blasphemy.

Local education official Jumaa Kazkaz said the decision to withdraw the book from several schools in areas of northern Syria controlled by Ankara was taken in consultation with Turkish officials.

The areas include the city of Al-Bab where residents had warned of protests, and the town of Jarablus whose residents torched copies of the book.

"It has been determined that there are unacceptable issues in terms of religious education in the content of the religious education book... Although the relevant publishing house apologised by stating that there was an error and mistake in the content, the incident in question is being investigated from multiple perspectives," the office of Gaziatep governorate in southeast Turkey said in a statement.


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