Muslim states to boycott Paris book fair 'to honor Israel'

Several Muslim states and organizations will boycott Paris book fair because organizers decided to "honor Jewish state's 60th anniversary."

Muslim states to boycott Paris book fair 'to honor Israel'

Iran on Saturday became the second Middle Eastern country to officially opt out of the annual Salon du Livre, the largest of the Paris book fairs.

It draws thousands of writers and hundreds publishers from around the world.

The five-day festival, which begins March 14, will honor the occupation of the Jewish state's 60th anniversary by accepting 39 Israeli writers to present their books. The main pavilion at the festival is due to be draped in Israeli flags and posters for the event to note that Israel is the "guest of honor".

Iran said it would refuse to participate in the event.

"Iran was a regular participant of Paris book fair each year," Ali Alipour, Iran's Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance told the Islamic Republic News Agency. "But this time it has refused to take part in the event protesting at the presence of the Zionist regime."

Lebanon announced Wednesday that it would stay away from the fair. "Lebanon will not participate this year in protest at the cultural event's organizers' decision to select Israel as guest of honor," Culture Minister Tarek Mitri announced.

The 50-nation Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Tuesday called on all Islamic states to boycott the Salon du Livre because, "The crimes against humanity that Israel is perpetrating in the Palestinian territories ... constitute, in themselves, a strong condemnation of Israel, making it unworthy of being welcomed as a guest of honor at an international book fair."

The Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported last week that representatives of 25 professional associations in Cairo, Egypt, sent the French Foreign Ministry a note protesting the decision to make Israel a guest of honor.

Literary and publishing groups in Tunisia and Algeria, where French is the second language, as well as the Palestinian territories and Yemen, also have announced decisions to stay away from the fair.

Festival organizers have said they decided to honor Israel on its 60th anniversary for failing do so on its 50th anniversary, when the Jewish state first sought the status.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Nisan 2008, 08:14