Cairo: Books by Qatar-based Egyptian Muslim cleric Yusuf Al Qaradawi have been withdrawn from the current Cairo Book Fair after protests from visitors, the Egyptian Culture Minister said on Saturday.
Al Qaradawi, seen as the spiritual leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, is wanted by Egyptian authorities allegedly for inciting violence, an accusation he has denied.
“The fair-goers were provoked by having books by Shaikh Al Qaradwi on display at the fair,” the ministry said in a statement. “This man does not hide his hostility to Egypt and its people. So a large number of the fair visitors demanded the removal of the books and the publisher responded.”
The books were printed and displayed by the Egyptian publishing House Al Shorouq. “The ministry does not welcome the confiscation of any book. Al Shorouk removed the books from its pavilion (at the fair) out of respect for the visitors’ wish.” There was no immediate comment from Al Shorouk.
Al Qaradawi, 88, has been an outspoken critic of the Egyptian government since mid-2013 when the army deposed president Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al Qaradawi has repeatedly called on Egyptians to hold street protests against incumbent President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, the former defence minister who led Mursi’s ouster.
Last year, the International police (Interpol) issued an arrest warrant for Al Qaradawi after an Egyptian request. In late 2013, Egyptian authorities declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.