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Ministry bans 3,766 books over last 3 years – 46% for reasons related to religion

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KUWAIT CITY, May 14: Statistics issued by the Ministry of Information shows 3,766 books were banned over a period of three years from 2016 until the end of 2018, an average of 1,255 books per year, or 4 books a day if we do not count the holidays, reports Al-Qabas daily.

The ministry justified the banning of about 48% of the total books from the public literature, and 46% of them for reasons related to religion, beliefs and prophets.

The statistics revealed that 1,735 books were banned for reasons related to religion and sanctities and the violation of the dignity of people and their religious beliefs, and 1,796 books for reasons contrary to public morality. This is in addition to the prevention of 121 books because they were deemed critical of countries friendly to Kuwait and could damage relations between Kuwait and those countries.

The censors also banned 30 books for reasons related to sorcery, 64 for reasons related to the State of Kuwait and the Gulf States, and 7 books deemed insulting the rulers of Kuwait and the Amir. Among the banned books are 10 which glorified Saddam Hussein, two books naming the Arabian Gulf in the Persian Gulf, and a book defaming the Constitution of Kuwait.

Information Minister Mohammed Al-Jabri said that the ministry does not have a committee to evaluate the books, but a committee to control the books that apply the provisions of Law No. 3/2006 regarding publications and publishing, denying the existence of a list of prohibited terms or topics.

Al-Jabri said in response to a question by MP Ahmad Al-Fadhel that there is a complaints committee to look at the decisions issued by the censorship committee on books and stressed the ministry aims to raise the efficiency and quality of supervision of books during the next stage.