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Saudi bans books at fair

Other banned books include The History of Hijab and Feminism in Islam.

Source : Gulf-Times / 17 Mar 2014

Saudi authorities have banned hundreds of books, including works by renowned Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish, as part of a crackdown on publications deemed threatening to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The local Okaz daily reported yesterday that organisers at the Riyadh International Book Fair had confiscated “more than 10,000 copies of 420 books” during the exhibition.

Local news website reported that members of the kingdom’s religious police had protested at “blasphemous passages” in works by the late Darwish, widely considered one of the greatest Arab poets, pressing organisers to withdraw all his books from the fair, which ended on Friday.

Similar action was taken against works by Iraq’s most famous modern poet, Badr Shaker al-Sayyab, and another Iraqi poet, Abdul Wahab al-Bayati, as well as those by Palestinian poet Muin Bseiso.

The fair’s organising committee also banned a book entitled When will the Saudi Woman Drive a Car? by Abdullah al-Alami, the Saudi Gazette daily reported.

Other banned books include The History of Hijab and Feminism in Islam.

Organisers also banned all books by Azmi Bishara, a former Arab Israeli MP who left the Jewish state in 2007, reported.

Organisers of the book fair, which began March 4, had announced ahead of the event that any book deemed “against Islam” or “undermining security” in the kingdom would be confiscated.


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