August 30, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — The publisher of ”We Shall Never Forget 9/11” says the coloring book is meant to honor victims from September 11 and educate children, but some people say it has an anti-Muslim agenda.
The St. Louis-based publisher says he spent six months developing the book with educators and editors, it’s true to news reports, and it’s intended to educate. But at least one Muslim-American group says the book uses inflammatory language and blurs the line between the September 11th terrorists and mainstream Islam.
Inside the coloring book “We Shall Never Forget 9/11,” the publisher writes, “‘They’ also will never forget. Yes, they know of whom “they” are. Given the chance, ‘they’ would do it again.”
“This book under no way – zero, zero, no way – mentions the Muslim faith. It does not mention Islam in generalities,” Publisher Wayne Bell said.
However, the Council on American-Islamic Relations sees a more pointed message in the children’s coloring book, which is filled with depiction of iconic images from that day.
“I think it’s very clear that the book has an agenda and is anti-Muslim,” Amina Sharif, CAIR Chicago, said.
In the 36-page book, the phrase “radical Islamic Muslim extremists” is used at least ten times. In one passage, the book reads, “Some Muslim people believe the attacks were a conspiracy caused by Jews…”
And in another section, it reads, “These attacks will change the way America deals with and views the Islamic and Muslim people around the world…”
The book also references the World Trade Center cross at Ground Zero, saying it “resembles the Christian Cross” and is a “sign of hope.”
“If they are trying to imply subliminally some kind of Christian-Muslim conflict here, I think that that is very dangerous and completely inappropriate,” Sharif said.
Near the end of the narrative is an image of Osama Bin Laden hiding behind a woman as he’s confronted and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs.
“The intent of the book is to educate, and that’s what it does,” Bell said.
Some parents wonder if the material right for children. “This is a really heavy topic. I think it should be discussed in schools with parents,” Nicole Engels said.
But John Williams said he’d have no problem giving the book to his 9-year-old son. “And I don’t think he would associate the guys in the masks and the guns with anything but bad guys. Period,” John Williams said.
Bell said he’s already sold thousands of copies and that he’s had to go to print again to keep up with demand. His company, he says, prints coloring books on a wide range of topics for kids of all ages. The book is only available online at the company’s website. He says the bulk of his buyers have been individuals and small bookstores.