Citing negative stereotyping of Arab culture, a Baltimore County, Maryland, elementary school has canceled its production of Disney's "Aladdin Jr."
Mother Danette Zaghari-Mask told WBAL-TV her son decided to drop out of the Westowne Elementary School play in Catonsville when he learned that "Arabs are described as barbaric" in it.
Zaghari-Mask, who is an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, spoke with school officials about his experience, and said her family was "relieved that the school is considerate of diversity."
Principal J. Palmer Wilker sent a letter to drama club parents last week in which he said the school wanted to "cultivate students who have a strong self-image, appreciation and respect for other cultures."
The school's drama club will replace the February 2019 production with "an alternative theatrical production with a focus on fables."
"Aladdin Jr." was adapted from the popular 1992 Disney film "Aladdin." The film repeatedly has been criticized for relying on anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stereotypes.
The movie's opening song "Arabian Nights" begins with this verse: "Oh, I come from a land, from a faraway place / Where the caravan camels roam / Where it's flat and immense / And the heat is intense / It's barbaric, but hey, it's home."