What about the fact that the toys are also graven images? While we’re tiptoeing around certain unnamed “religious sensibilities,” can we expect an animal-free farm set, too?
Of course, this decision defies logic on so many levels, but it is part of a broader pattern of illogical assumptions and expectations. There is the unnecessary, self-inflicted burden taken on by non-Muslims to assume all responsibility for not offending Muslims — in other words, pre-emptive dhimmitude. There is the self-inflicted sense of helplessness and bewilderment in the face of threats of “radicalization” brought about by an unwillingness to address the supremacist impulse and sense of entitlement to rule that is inherent in Islamic teachings. There is the hope against hope that if one is just “nice,” and gives people everything they demand, that will solve the problem and there can be peace once everyone’s “hearts and minds” are set aright.
And so, illogic generates more illogic: are toy plastic pigs now ritually unclean? Is the company afraid of going under due to poor performance in the overseas market for farm sets against their non-pig-including competitors? Are they afraid of an interview on the BBC 15 years from now where a jihadist explains: “Well, it was the pig in my farm set all those years ago. That’s what put me over the edge. That’s what did it”?
On the bright side, consumer outcry did manage to reverse this decision, unfortunate as it is that it could happen in the first place. “Toy pig pulled from farm set on religious grounds,” by Josie Clark for the Independent, November 16 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A retailer withdrew a toy pig from a children’s farm set to avoid the risk of causing offence on religious grounds, it emerged today.
This is not, however, the first time something like this has happened.
A mother who bought the Early Learning Centre’s (ELC) HappyLand Goosefeather Farm for her daughter’s first birthday contacted the store after finding that the pig was missing, the Sun newspaper reported.
The Â£25 set contained a model of a cow, sheep, chicken, horse and dog but no pig, despite there being a sty and a button which generated an “oink”.
But ELC chiefs have since decided to reintroduce the pig, with parents who have bought the set invited to get the toy from the company’s website.
The mother, named only as Caroline, posted about her experience in a forum on parenting website Netmums.
She wrote: “Checked the box and discovered that there isnt a piggy. Went online, nope no piggy. So I emailed ELC and the response that I had makes my blood boil…(The ELC wrote) ‘Previously the pig was part of the Goosefeather farm however due to customer feedback and religious reasons this is no longer part of the farm.”‘
Caroline added: “This is political correctness gone loopy. On what basis did they remove it?
“This is as bad as no more ‘baa baa black sheep’ or other such things. Stuff like this is just insipid, it worms its way into every aspect of our lives and we just let it happen. Surely if someone has issue with a toy that they don’t agree with, then don’t buy it!”
A mother called Chouli responded: “Does it have a disclaimer on it, though? ‘Pig sold seperately (sic)’? Perhaps they keep a stash of them in the back somewhere in brown paper bags?”
And another named Safiyyah said: “I’m Muslim and it doesn’t bother me. It’s just another animal.
“What are the store going to do next? Ban the Peppa Pig cartoon? Stop selling books with pigs in? This is a multi-cultural country.”
The ELC later said it had decided to reinstate the pig.
A spokeswoman said: “ELC is a truly global brand, which means we need to be aware of the full range of customer expectations and cultural differences. The decision to remove the pig from our Goosefeather Farm set was taken in reaction to customer feedback in some parts of the world.
So, British customers don’t matter, and simply have to conform to the tastes of the “global” market. Classy.
“We recognise that pigs are familiar farm animals, especially for our UK customers. Taking on board all the customer feedback, we have taken the decision to reinstate the pig and to no longer sell the set in those international markets where it might create an issue.
“Any customers who have bought Goosefeather Farm in the last few months will be able to order a pig free of charge to complete their set via our website in the coming weeks.”