Muslims, left groups protest Italy's book fair over Israel crimes

Muslims and left groups in Italy protest the Turin book fair opening on Thursday, like its Parisian counterpart in March, as Israel is "guest of honour".

Muslims, left groups protest Italy's book fair over Israel crimes

Writer and professor Tariq Ramadan criticised the planned presence of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at the fair, saying his attendance would make it 'a political and not a cultural event.'

Ahead of the five-day expo, several Muslim writers, intellectuals and artists as well as the Free Palestine association staged a two-day protest seminar at the University of Turin titled 'Western Democracies and Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine.'

Free Palestine is also planning a protest on Saturday.

Leftist groups say that by naming Israel the fair's Guest Country for 2008, the event's organizers, including Turin's centre- left city government, are ignoring the plight of the Palestinians at the hands of the Jewish state.

Ramadan, who is backing the boycott calls, is the grandson of Hassan El-Banna, the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He said last week that he would not offer his support to 60 years of a policy of oppression of the Palestinian people.

Several Arab and Muslim countries and writers' groups boycotted the Paris book fair.

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation had called on its 50 member states to stay away, saying that Israel's crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories make it unworthy of such "an honour".

Muslim critics say Israel should not be rewarded in this manner while it faces international outrage over its crimes in the Palestinian territories.

Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Mayıs 2008, 15:03
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