Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:19 am (KSA) 21:19 pm (GMT)

Egypt prosecutor rejects ‘Arabian Nights’ ban

An Egyptian book vendor holds a copy of "One Thousand and One Nights" at a bookstore in Cairo in May (File)
An Egyptian book vendor holds a copy of "One Thousand and One Nights" at a bookstore in Cairo in May (File)

Egypt's public prosecutor dismissed a complaint brought forth by Islamists seeking to ban "Arabian Nights" which they judged to be immoral.

Prosecutor Abdul Megid Mahmoud threw out the case, saying the epic tales had been published for centuries without problems, and had been an inspiration to countless artists.

The case was brought forward by a group of Islamist lawyers after a new edition was published by the government-run General Agency for Cultural Palaces.

They had filed a complaint to the public prosecutor against the publication of the classic "One Thousand and One Nights," known in English as "Arabian Nights," because they said it was lewd.

Mahmoud also made reference to a 1985 ruling which allowed the book to be published, saying the latest case brought no new elements.

First published in mediaeval times, the collection of tales including "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves" is told by Sheherazade to put off her execution by a king who wants to bed his country's virgins before executing them.

In 2003, the head of General Agency for Cultural Palaces was sacked by Culture Minister Farouq Hosni after it published three novels Islamists described as obscene.

In their complaint against "Arabian Nights," an Islamist group of lawyers, calling themselves Lawyers Without Borders, catalogued references to sex which they said “called to vice and sin”.

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