Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More Details on the Riyadh Book Fair

UPI provides further details on the attempted book seizures at the Riyadh Book Fair:

Saudi Arabia's semi-official Al Watan daily said Thursday the religious police tried to remove exhibited books on love and different religions at the Riyadh International Book Fair that opened Tuesday.

The paper quoted an Egyptian publisher as saying a group of young local men, accompanied by a mutawa, or government-authorized religious police enforcing Islamic law, entered his booth and asked the publisher to remove some books.

"This happened without official paperwork and without officials, as they came in and began choosing titles they wanted removed," said the publisher, who was not identified. "The problem is, they didn't even bother to read the inside of the books, in which one of them even defends Islam, but its title was about Christ; so they asked for their removal" from the exhibition, he added.

A Lebanese publisher also complained about intrusion by some visitors who criticized the books and demanded they be taken off the shelves.

The Mutawa are the public enforcers of Saudi Arabia's strict Wahhabist form of Islam. They are most infamous for a March 2002 incident in which they refused to let teenage girls flee their burning school because they weren't wearing their robes and headscarves. Fifteen girls died. It should come as little surprise, then, that the Mutawa would be up for some good old fashioned book banning.


Anonymous Dances With Books said...

What was that line about where they burn books they will eventually burn people? Sounds like they already got it down pat over there.

10:36 AM  

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