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The ancient Arabians regarded the poet as a magician in touch with spirits. The Prophet Muhammad rejected their traditions and drew up a charter offering freedom of conscience to Muslims, while respecting the biblical traditions of Jews and Christians. During the dark ages of Christianity, Arabic translations of Greek texts were the lamp that fired the Italian Renaissance.
Modern history saw control of communication move to the secularists, with Nasser manipulating the media to express his grandiose schemes of pan-Arab nationalism. Socialism and secularism have given way to political Islam today, better understood, or reviled, in the West as fundamentalism. Although the history of Islam is one of tolerance, political Islam has tended to reject this tolerance of late.
Drawing on a multitude of anecdotes and first-hand accounts, this concise history of censorship in Islamic societies studies the turbulent question of freedom of expression and analyses the political direction and control of such freedoms in a number of countries, including Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria and Afghanistan.
About the Author
Trevor Mostyn taught at Algiers University before joining the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) as a journalist in London. Since then he has traveled throughout the Middle East and North Africa, writing for the Financial Times, the New Statesman, the International Herald Tribune and other publications. He has published six books on the Middle East and edited the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the Middle East and North Africa.
'An excellent book, written just before the crescendo of Middle Eastern unhappiness we are reaching now, but even more timely for it. Trevor Mostyn spares none of the foes of freedom of speech, wherever they exist.'
'Trevor Mostyn's essential and unrivalled work.'
Index on Censorship
'Mostyn's poignant anecdotes and reportage serve both to remind every Arab of the truth [about censorship] as it is already known, as well as adding to that knowledge.'