Multiculturalism and book banners
The first International Festival of Literature in Dubai promised to be relaxed, vibrant and diverse. Many books and authors were invited and are due to attend the festival, which begins on February 26. however, one author was disinvited and her book banned from the relaxed, vibrant and diverse literary festival.
Mick Hartley provides the answer:
Isobel Abulhoul, director of the festival, wrote to Ms Bedell to tell her that she was not invited. “I do not want our festival remembered for the launch of a controversial book,” she wrote. “If we launched the book and a journalist happened to read it, then you could imagine the political fallout that would follow.”
She explained that the book was unsuitable because one of the characters was a gay sheikh with an English boyfriend and the plot was set against the background of the Iraq War which “could be a minefield for us”.
Ms Bedell, who has lived in the Gulf, told The Times that the book has since been banned from sale in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates....Of course Arabs are allowed to be bigoted without paying any price for that. They are Arabs, and their culture not only allows but insists on such bigotries. The multiculturalists who attend these events are all for accommodating all cultures by way of fighting bigotry. So there.