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Kuwait Book Fair bans books 21, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait.
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Kuwait has banned 35 books from its Book Fair including What Life Taught Me? by Egyptian journalist Mohammed Hassanein Heikal and the best selling The Yacoubian Building. Many of the books are widely available across the Middle East and none of them, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, refer at all to Kuwaiti society.

The Fair is held under the auspices of the Kuwaiti National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters and is one of a host of similar fairs across the Middle East. One of the key issues in Kuwait is that, arguably like in Saudi (though of course to a lesser degree), these kinds of educational-cum-social events and organizations are often under the purview, either by design or by force of personality, of somewhat dogmatic and even extreme religiously motivated MPs. When an MP decries that book x is licentious and haram, it becomes near impossible for another MP to defend it, lest s/he is castigated as promoting some ungodly activities in pure, untainted and Muslim Kuwait.

I’ve written on Kuwaiti book censorship before here.


The 2010 Arab Booker Prize winner Abdo Khal has announced that he will boycott the Kuwait Book Fair because of their decision to ban certain books.