Maryland School Cancels 'Aladdin' Play Over Anti-Arab Stereotypes - NBC4 Washington

Maryland School Cancels 'Aladdin' Play Over Anti-Arab Stereotypes

The principal said the school wanted to "cultivate students who have a strong self-image, appreciation and respect for other cultures"

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    Maryland School Cancels 'Aladdin' Play Over Anti-Arab Stereotypes
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    Actor Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Iglehart perform "Aladdin" onstage during the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York.

    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."

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