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Islamic states boycott Paris book fair over Israeli presence

Paris, March 4, IRNA - The Islamic states boycotted Paris book fair, which starts on March 14, in protest at inviting Israel. Saudi Arabia has become the latest to withdraw, following Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has also urged its 50 members to pull out from the fair.

ISESCO said Israel had committed crimes against humanity in Palestine.

Organizers have argued that many of the Israeli writers support the idea of Palestinian statehood.

But ISESCO called for a boycott, saying "the crimes against humanity that Israel is perpetrating in the Palestinian territories constitute, in themselves, a strong condemnation of Israel, making it unworthy of inviting to such an event."

This prompted Lebanon to announce it would stay away from the fair.

National publishing houses from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria have cancelled their stands at the fair.

And if this was not enough, a similar row is brewing over the Turin book fair in May in Italy.

British-Pakistani writer Tariq Ali has said he will boycott the event because there has been no attempt to invite an equal number of Palestinian writers.

Prominent Swiss Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan has supported the boycott, saying it is not decent to invite Israel when it shows no respect for the Palestinian people.

... Payvand News - 03/04/08 ... --

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