December 23, 2003
Following the book's publication, Akin Toktaliyev, head of the organization To Protect the Dignity of the Kyrgyz People, filed a lawsuit against Shapiro, asking for $120,000 in "moral damages," according to the AP/Inquirer. Toktaliyev claimed in the suit that his son had been "corrupted" by the book and that the text did not take into account Kyrgyz culture, the AP/Inquirer reports. "Our mentality has existed for centuries and will live for quite long," Toktaliyev said, adding that Shapiro's "goal is to ruin our society, to spoil young people, and teach them sex." The book's "most controversial" sections include a series of cartoons showing a man putting on a condom and a passage on masturbation. Education Minister Ishengul Boljurova said that although some parts of the book were respectable, the ministry had received many letters, including some from top officials, urging her to withdraw the book. "People want to hide from the problems," Nina Meshkova, a psychologist at a private high school in Bishkek, said, adding that opponents of the book "don't see the problems Shapiro sees" with the rising number of AIDS cases in the country (Toktogulov, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/21).
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