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Why are we talking about Fireman Sam?

Wrapped in velvet, placed on the highest shelf, perfumed and honoured, the Qur’an has a special place in every Muslim’s heart. The Qur’an is the uncreated speech of the Lord of the Worlds, the Lord and Master of Mankind, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth. Once this is appreciated it will cause an earthquake in your soul.

Fireman Sam was everyone’s favourite and friendly firefighter. A children’s classic that I remember watching during my childhood and one which runs to this day. So it was with astonishment that I learnt that this children’s program—for some strange and inexplicable reason—contained a page of the Qur’an flying across the screen as a character slipped and fell. Whether or not the character stepped on the page is unclear, and arguably inconsequential; what is subject to outrage is why the pages were there in the first place. This episode first aired in 2014, but was most recently shown on June 28 2016; during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Social media inflamed with other examples of pages of the Qur’an throughout the episode and complaints flying around to the various TV networks that aired it.

HIT entertainment, the producer for the programme and brand owner of Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder has issued an unreserved apology. HIT entertainment has placed the blame entirely on its Chinese animators despite the stringent editorial process one would expect the finished cartoon to have gone through. Some have noted that David Jones, one of the creators of Fireman Sam, was detained at Gatwick airport for making a comment about a Muslim woman wearing a niqab in 2012.[1]

Why was this done? Subliminal messaging has a long and dark history in film and advertising. Some have claimed that Walt Disney, the so-called father of animation, was a racist and master of the dark arts. In a storyboard meeting on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney referred to the scene when the dwarfs pile on top of each other as a “nigger pile”.[2] Disney films such as The Lion King have long been rumoured to contain subliminal messages. In one such scene with Simba the word “sex” appears in the sky. In Aladdin, the ‘hero’ is heard to faintly say: “Good teenagers take off your clothes.” Male genitalia were famously found drawn inconspicuously on the front cover of The Little Mermaid. The list goes on. Of course, Disney states this is not the case and the words are misinterpreted or misheard.[3] The readers are left to make their own judgement.

There is something dark and sinister about desecrating the Qur’an. Fireman Sam’s treatment of the Qur’an has worrying echoes with the behaviour of some prison guards at Guantanamo bay. Reports from Guantanamo Bay detail an instance of a soldier who had a dog carry a copy of the Qur’an in its mouth, in another soldiers were said to have written obscenities within the Qur’an. Other prisoners said the Qur’ans were stomped on and some had been urinated upon. Former detainee Mohammad Mazouz said:

They tore it and threw it on the floor…They urinated on it. They walked on top of the Qur’an. They used the Qur’an like a carpet.”[4]

Some may argue the scenes in Fireman Sam are even more insidious. Why? Because it was deliberately directed at our children, within whom we work hard to instil a love and respect for the Qur’an. It is well established that children learn by mimicry, and that sadly, they watch the same cartoon over and over and over again. Whilst a parent may not have noticed this brief scene, a child, who may adore Fireman Sam, saw arguably a disrespecting of the Book of Allah. What lasting impact this has is difficult to say. Even if one were to be generous and assume that this was an unintentional error, the fact remains that such an ‘error’ needs to be explained.

Whilst Mattel—the owner of HIT—has not explained exactly how this came about, it is concerning in the extreme to note the deliberate nature and effort expended on the scene. Furthermore, the fact that for 2 years it went unnoticed is something to reflect on. How many children, whether consciously or not, would have seen and absorbed the subliminal messages being relayed to them? This is especially pertinent now that we are in the school holidays and countless busy parents will be allowing their children to binge on television or YouTube videos. Who knows how many other corrupting scenes may exist like this, slipped unobtrusively into our children’s favourite cartoons, witnessed by their innocent eyes without our knowledge.

Whilst the era of the polytheists of Quraish was considered to be that of Ignorance, there does not appear to be any examples of them desecrating the Qur’an. Members of Quraysh would try to raise their voices and drown out the recitation of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) so others could not hear it as well as beating the weaker companions who dared to publicly recite it, such as Abdullah b. Mas’ud (radiyAllahu ‘anhu). However, despite not accepting it was the Word of God, they were still in awe of it. One such proof is when Abu Jahl would, in the darkness of the night so as not to be seen, stand near the home of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in order to hear the Qur’an. Enemies of Islam know very well that since the Qur’an makes so much sense to any open-minded person of sound intellect, you have to resort to other tactics to prevent people hearing it or giving it the attention and consideration it demands. We live in a time where the Qur’an is burned, walked over, urinated upon and otherwise belittled in importance.

It is interesting that the page containing Surah al-Mulk was chosen in the Fireman Sam episode in question. It is within this surah that the inhabitants of the hellfire say:

Yes, indeed a warner did come to us, but we denied him and said: ‘Allah never sent down anything of revelation; you are only in great error’.”[5]

And Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) gives a stern warning:

Or do you feel secure that He, who is over the heaven will not cause the earth to sink with you and then it should quake?[6]

Whilst Muslims across the world are upset and hurt at the latest incident, they are urged to do the following:

I. Renew and develop your connection to the Book of Allah. Specifically teach your children surah Al-Mulk. Memorise it yourself whilst you teach it to your children. Sit with your family and read the tafsir of it and as a family reflect over the surah. Manifest this Surah in your own and your families’ lives. Make the Qur’an the spring of your heart.

II. Demand Mattel, which owns the production company HIT entertainment, which in turn is responsible for this deplorable act, to thoroughly investigate this incident and make public its findings. In the event that no investigation is forthcoming or it is not comprehensive, there should be an international, Ummah-wide boycott of Mattel products until the company conducts and publishes a thorough investigation into this matter. Mattel is an American multinational corporation which produces brands such as Fisher Price, Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels. HIT productions, a subsidiary of Mattel, produces Thomas and Friends, Barney & Friends, Angelina Ballerina and Mike the Knight. Such a boycott would include not purchasing any of the merchandise associated with these cartoons including toys, DVDs, clothes and books. The international ‘Muslim Pound’ is strong and growing and we must use our consumer spending power to make a statement when faced with such blatant hatred for our beliefs.

III. We must also be very careful what our children watch, especially in these holidays where it is more tempting for busy parents to put their children in front of the television.

The final word is with the King of Kings (subhanahu wa ta’ala) who says in His noble book:

“Was Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking…?”[7]

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9105788/Fireman-Sam-creator-detained-at-airport-for-veil-comment-at-security-gate.html

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/elvis-racist-five-historic-icons-who_n_5036369.html

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/14/disney-sexual-messages_n_6452666.html

[4] http://staugustine.com/stories/052205/nat_3094607.shtml#.V5jJyJMrJFw

[5] Qur’an 67: 9

[6] Qur’an 67: 16

[7] Qur’an 9:65

About Dr Izzadeen Chowdhury

5 comments

  1. a supplicator ..saying.."Ya Allah..forgive all sinners"

    لا اله الا الله سبحانك انني من الظالمين……فيا الله ارزقنا جمعياالاستقامة
    واجعلنا من المؤمنين….اللهم امين.

    Just watched the brief footage of the above accident/incident and a smile 2 jannah video….. 🙂 🙂

    As to mr fire man…..or mr elvis….thankfully….the latter was unaware…..as to who placed the page on the floor…..may be the wind blew it off the table……alhamdullah…..at least they were or hopefully they were reading it……alhamdullah again……..we as muslims (through Allah’s grace ,mercy and justice those who are other faiths ie humanity-included)…anyway we have a great weapon…..especially when oppressed…..ie come under one of the times when prayers/supplications…duas are answered…etc. Allah Akbar ya Qahar ya Hakeem ya Razak…..

    A question to anyone out there?…..do we know what page of the blessed final testament it was? Ie can it be seen or is it known…what surah and page it is?……

    Anyway…i’d better go and read befire im too come under those who have taken it mahjura..ie neglected it and its instructions of how to live a better life and make life better for self first and then others….etc.

    O Allah forgive us all and those who know not. Amen/ameen.

    Peace

  2. very nice and informative blog is your’s.I’m also running Online Quran Learning website for more information please visit us at

  3. Assalamualykum author of this article, Islam 21C and those who have read this article. This was the response from the company’s consumer response;

    “It has been bought to our attention that in an episode of Fireman Sam (Series 9, Episode 7), an image of the Quran is briefly depicted. The page was intended to show illegible text and we deeply regret this error. We sincerely apologise for any distress or offense it may have caused. We will no longer be working with the animation studio responsible for this mistake. In addition, we are taking immediate action to remove this episode from circulation and we are reviewing our content production procedures to ensure this never happens again.

    Again, we apologise unreservedly to our viewers.”

    Regards

    Jan Gillison

    Consumer Response

  4. Bism Allah ar-rahman ar-Raheem (appropriate? Well, it is not Quran!)

    Sallam alaikom,

    Barak Allah feekom br. Dr. Izzadeen for the article.

    we seek refuge with the word i, with that said i wished to add to the conversation a few comments on your last couple of sentences of:

    The final word is with the King of Kings (subhanahu wa ta’ala) who says in His noble book:
    “Was Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking…?” (taubah -9: 65).

    With that mentioned, I’d like to add and allude to what the king of earthly kings to come was quoted as saying in Luke 19:27. May Allah have mercy on him too, as Allah is the First and the Last, so where are all of the past/current and future rulers, whether good or not going to be when our Lord Allah the One and only, the Compeller /Jabbar, the Kings of Kings shouts out ‘’where are they all?’’-something like that anyway?!

    It seems that those who initiated and are pursuing this cold war against the bearers of truth in these latter days are intent on spreading mischief through out the land…etc. The real terrorists in the sense through what they are may be suggesting and defiantly promoting amongst those who are confused, i.e. those who follow the trends, i.e. the gawoon of the modern day shuara /poets, i.e. the media…etc.
    So to them, all we can do is still talk to them peacefully and call to them in a kind/gentle way, as our Lord instructed Musa/ Moses (peace upon him) and at the same time warn them of the above mentioned bible verse, and pray to God as the seal of the prophets/ our Beloved (peace be upon him) said ‘’ we seek refuge with Allah from the evil of the day of al-baas /retribution’’ (not too sure of it’s authenticity). As we know, Allah’s mercy outweighs His anger, but He is also Just, so may we be Allah’s helpers and pave the way for the one He will send as a just judge in this temporary abode, i.e. the prince of peace, Jesus/Eisa the son of Mary/man (peace upon them both).

    The Muttafafeen /defrauders may seem to be enjoying themselves and laughing, so let us have the END IN MIND!

    On a side note, how can we awaken the masses, if not ourselves first, about what was mentioned in Dr. Izaadeen’s article, i.e. What can we do in order to reach as many potential truth bearers or at least sympathisers towards the Haqq of Islam? – could a mass media monitoring campaign to infiltrate all walks and sectors of the societies be one of the solutions?? = something to pick the fruits when ripened perhaps as discussed with in our community to when we can push and demand an open and fair mass discussion in this great democracy we live in and let the populace consult amongst ourselves the best way forward for the over all benefit not just of these isles but for North East West and South – please forgive me as I am not really that involved with dawah and most definitely lack knowledge and insight, but if anyone could comment on the afore mentioned suggestion or what is currently out there or what we could do to improve, that would be helpful at least to anyone who wished to do so, including myself and an encouragement and a pointer in the right direction in how and what one can do to tackle the situation…etc.

    p.s. If any body happens to come across this, and even though it is a bit pre-maturely early, just to try and attempt to make a little change and something to meet my Creator in the eternal abode, but may I be able to suggest and ask the ruling about the Takbirrat of the Eids? Here in the UK for many years now we have ceased to hear the second part of the Takkbirrat being mentioned anymore!! What is the true format and the origins of the Takkibarat…etc? Reason being and with out knowing the origins and rulings of it but with in the heart it has been not liked and the heart has been changing it for all these years now, so it has been hurting…etc, perhaps because the morale is not being uplifted by hearing the second part of the Takkbirrat…etc. As Eid is approximately give and take 9-10-11 days away, if the second part format is from our deen or is of any benefit, not an order, even though we as muslims have been ordered to order the good and forbid the evil…etc, but can the scholars and mosque committees do something to re-instate the format in our national takkibirrats and if not, and even though I have not done so myself as of yet, the fellow laymen to ask and request it from their mosques this Eid. Granting all this, as an Ummah, in Allah we put our trust and he is the best disposer of affairs and from Him is victory and if He is with us, who can be against us! Allah Akbar and to Him alone in-sha-Allah we sincerely only worship!

    Ya Allah iyak naabudo wa iyaka nestain f ya Allah ya munzil al-kitab, hazim al-ahzab, ihzim al-ahzab wa zelzilhom. Allahoma ameen!

    Dying to live, or living to die…still the coals are burning and the mountains await (now or soon), albeit, good news to the strangers and may we be amongst the victorious sect and the generation of witnesses.

    If there is any good in what was said, it is from Allah and if not so good, then it is from me and my rebellious soul. May Allah forgive me a sinner and forgive us all and even though our avowed enemy satan is a hopeless case, but there is still hope for those he is trying to take with him where he is going, so make Allah protects us all and guide us and them to the straight path, so peace and blessings on the prophets and especially on the muqaffi the Beloved Muhammed, his family, wives and companions and all those that follow him until the judgement day!
    peace

  5. They can do what they like. Even if they were to burn every copy we have millions of hufaaz. They won’t decrease the greatness and splendour of the Quran by even a particle smaller than an atom.
    As Muslims we must learn Arabic and go back to Quran.
    Imagine your plane or ship crashes and you are marooned on a dessert island. The only Quran you have is what you memorised!
    A simplified example but one in which there are lessons.

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