Pictures of Pigs to be Removed from Saudi Textbooks

The Saudi Ministry of Education recently ordered the removal of pictures of pigs, music instruments and anything else that might be considered “un-Islamic” from English language text books for private schools.

The rationale for removing the images of pigs as being un-Islamic is not unusual in many Muslim-majority countries however it deserves a second thought. Without a doubt Islam does not permit eating pigs. It also does not allow eating falcons, eagles, bears, dogs, cats, monkeys and a whole host of other animals that are sometimes eaten in other cultures. Will all such animal images also be banned?

The religious prohibition against eating an animal does not make the animal inherently “un-Islamic”. Indeed one has to wonder how any of God’s Creation can be considered un-Islamic?  Viewing of animals is not banned in the religion (whether one is allowed to eat them or not) so why remove their images from books?

Children in Saudi Arabia will not accidently come across a pig and decide to eat it; they are much more likely to come across stray cats!  What is most important in the long run is to teach children what is allowed, what is not allowed and why. Teach them how religious law does not allow eating omnivores; how pigs  fall in the category of prohibited animals and how their anatomy prevents Islamically correct slaughter. It is only when they learn the “why” that they will be less tempted to try pork products in the restaurants of neighboring Bahrain. Erasing a picture will not convey the correct message.


  1. […] Plain View created an interesting post today on Pictures of Pigs to be Removed from Saudi TextbooksHere’s a short outline…how any of God’s Creation can be considered un-Islamic?  Viewing of animals is not banned in the religion (whether one is allowed to eat… […]

  2. MarahmApril 2, 2009

    Rather than discourage interest in pigs (whether to eat them or to view them), such a textbook policy may serve to inspire the very actions it aims to prevent.

    The focus on pigs, to the exclusion of the birds and food animals you mentioned, suggests that pigs hold a special allure.

    One needs not have the IQ of a genius to understand that eating pigs is much different from viewing them in books.

  3. DeeApril 4, 2009

    I agree with you Marahm. People will gravitate toward the forbidden. The more constrictive the society/rules the more the people will try to break free of it or try to find out why it’s so “horrible”.

    Prior to converting I ate pork for years. I can’t even look at it now without feeling ill. It’s really NOT something to be coveted! Quite bland, really.

  4. SusieOfArabiaApril 5, 2009

    This type of mentality is just so difficult to comprehend. To deny the existence altogether of an animal that was put on earth by God is just ludicrous. This society is in denial about so many things. What’s next?

  5. QusayApril 22, 2009

    Funny thing is… pigs are mentioned in the Quran, I heard from a friend of mine that a lady had a lengthy discussion with an English teacher because she taught the children the word “pig” which according to her interpretation was forbidden to teach… where are we going? I do not know

  6. somebozoMay 13, 2009

    Well you need a little update on knowledge here. While monkeys, falcons, horse etc etc may simply be mentioned as not allowed to eat they dont have the exclusive swine status of pig and dog. It may not be forbidding to teach but removal of their pictures portary the stigma of “nastiness” attached to them.


Leave a Reply

Scroll to top