Cairo, 22 March 2012
ANHRI condemns the Saudi government for its confiscation of the book “Questions of the revolution”, written by Sheikh Salman Ben-Fahd al-Odah, on 14 March 2012. It seized all the book’s copies available at the Riyadh Book Fair, one day ahead of closure. Not only that, but it also ordered the administrator of the department in which the book was sold to sign a pledge not to sell any copy it.
“Today my book Questions of the Revolution was seized in the Book Fair. This is not the time of banning, censorship, and confiscation” said Sheikh al-Odah, Vice President of the Nosra Global Organization and the Assistant Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and member of the European Fatwa Council, on his Twitter account on 14 March 2012. https://twitter.com/#!/salman_
It is worth noting that al-Odah’s book topped the list of sales at the Book Fair, and does not include any incitement to revolution as the Saudi authorities imagine. It only analyses and lists a revolution’s causes and motives and also provides an analytical study to critique the Arab revolutions, what has become of them in the course of one year, and their anticipated destiny in the coming period. Thus, there is no reason for the authorities to ban and confiscate the book.
However, al-Ouda challenged the confiscation decision, published the book online, and announced the websites that made his book available to his approximately million followers on Twitter, multiple times higher than those who would have bought the book from the Book Fair.
“Freedom of authors and innovators must not be bounded by walls of restrictions. How can a country advance while it confiscates and bans literary works that respect readers’ minds and benefit them?” said ANHRI.
“The Saudi authorities should immediately revoke its decision to ban the book and respect writers’ freedom of opinion and expression. In the Internet age, there is no meaning to confiscation. It only embarrasses the authorities,” said ANHRI.
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