Middle East

Saudi textbook features image of Yoda with King Faisal

United Nations (Yoda) - 2013 Image copyright Shaweesh/Gharem Studio
Image caption Shaweesh said he included Yoda because, like King Faisal, he was "wise, strong and calm"

Saudi Arabia's education minister has apologised for the production of a school textbook in which the Star Wars character Yoda is seen superimposed on a photograph of the late King Faisal.

Ahmed al-Issa said a committee was looking into the "unintended mistake".

The image, which shows the diminutive Jedi Master sitting beside King Faisal as he signs the UN Charter in 1945, was created by the Saudi artist Shaweesh.

He told the BBC it was not yet clear how it had ended up in the textbook.

However, he stressed that he had meant no offence to the king, who helped transform Saudi Arabia into a modern state and an actor on the world stage.

"Everyone loves King Faisal here, even the younger generations," he said.

The 2013 artwork, entitled United Nations (Yoda), is part of a series in which symbols of American pop culture - ranging from Captain America to Darth Vader - are superimposed onto archive photos of historical events.

The initial inspiration, Shaweesh said, was a photograph of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat standing beside Mickey Mouse during a visit to Disneyland.

Image copyright Saudi Ministry of Education
Image caption The artwork featured in a section about the United Nations in a social studies textbook

He said he included Yoda in the photo of King Faisal - who was then serving as his father Ibn Saud's foreign envoy - because they were both "wise, strong and always calm".

Shaweesh said some critical comments had been made about his artwork after the textbook's publication, but most had been directed towards the education ministry.

"Someone should have checked the image before printing," he added.

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