A 36-page "graphic novel coloring book" created by a St. Louis, Mo., publisher is attracting international attention -- and has reportedly sold out of its first pressing of 10,000 copies -- after Muslim American advocates complained that the book projects an anti-Muslim agenda particularly not suitable for children.
The book, titled "We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids' Book of Freedom" was intended by its publisher, Wayne Bell, to present "a respectful graphic representation of the events from that day," including images covering the span of the last decade since the September 11, 2001 attacks, up to the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Bell's goal with publishing the book, which he admits carries a "PG" rating due to its level of graphic, historical detail.
But Muslim American advocates describe the book as "hateful, inflammatory and completely inappropriate for children or anyone for that matter," as Amina Sharif, a spokeswoman for the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the Chicago Tribune.
Sharif and others contend that the book fails to differentiate between the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and other, mainstream followers of the Muslim faith. As ABC 7 reports, the book contains the phrase "radical Islamic Muslim extremists" at least 10 times. The publisher writes in the book that, "'they' also will never forget. Yes, they know of whom 'they' are. Given the chance, 'they' would do it again" and in another passage, the books reads, "Some Muslim people believe the attacks were a conspiracy caused by Jews."
Text on another page depicting a Navy SEAL aiming a gun at bin Laden, according to Time, reads, "Children, the truth is, these terrorist acts were done by freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists. These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE and our society is FREE."
"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 added to ABC 7.
In response to criticisms from the CAIR and other groups, Bell stands by the book. He told ABC News the book offers an "honest depiction" of the events surrounding the 9/11 tragedy.
"The truth is the truth," Bell told ABC News. "It's unfortunate that they were all Muslim and that's the part people want to erase … I don't know what else you can call them."
If it is requested of him, Bell also added, he said he would publish another similar book offering more positive images of the Muslim-American community.
WATCH Bell and Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of CAIR, discuss the controversial coloring book on HLN's Dr. Drew:
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more