This story is reminiscent of other cases of cultural suppression in the name of Islamic “decency,” such as Indonesia‘s controversial, so-called “pornography” law and the banning of films in Kenya near the border with Somalia. “Egyptian anger at Islamist call to ban Arabian Nights,” from BBC News, May 5:
Egyptian writers have condemned a call by a group of Islamic lawyers for the classic book Arabian Nights to be banned because it is “obscene”.
The group, Lawyers Without Shackles, filed a complaint with Egypt’s prosecutor general after the collection of folk tales was republished.
They called for the new edition to be pulped and the stories to be banned.
But the country’s writers union has said it will fight the group in the courts if they try to proceed.
‘Like the Taliban’
“I was shocked at the offensive phrases it contains,” Ayman Abdul Hakim of Lawyers Without Shackles was quoted by the TV station Al Arabiya.
They catalogued several references to sex in the book and said they were “calls to sin”.
But Writers’ Union spokesman said the lawyers were behaving “like the Taliban”.
“Those who want to destroy our heritage are taking the same path as the Taliban when they destroyed Buddha’s statues,” Mohammed Salmawy told the news agency AFP, referring to the destruction of the giant sculptures of Buddha in Bamiyan.
The books publishers, the state-run General Organisation Cultures Palaces, said the republishing had been very popular and the print run had sold out.