Egyptian Feminist’s Book is Recalled and Destroyed for “Offending Religion”

All copies of Egyptian feminist writer, activist and medical doctor Nawal Al Saadawi’s latest book, God Resigns in the Summit Meeting, were removed from circulation and destroyed last week by her publisher Mahmoud Madbouli, according to German news service Deutsche Press Agenter. Madbouli said he withdrew the book once he learned it “offended readers’ religious sensitivities.” Claiming his decision to remove and shred all copies of the text was not political, Madbouli admitted to Deutsche Press Agenter that security police witnessed the destruction.

“My book contains nothing offensive to religion,” Saadawi said to Gulf News. “A work of art should be judged by the critics, not religious clerics or government bureaucrats.” According to Saadawi, the book examines current socio-economic and religious issues in Egypt.

Saadawi, a former political prisoner who lived in exile in the US for five years before returning to Egypt, is currently being prosecuted for supporting her daughter’s suggestion last year that children be named after their mothers, not fathers. Saadawi and her daughter, Dr. Mona Helmi, were interrogated by a general prosecutor on January 28 after being accused of renouncing religion, according to an essay published on her website.

The author of over 30 books – many banned – Saadawi was the Director General of Public Health in Egypt until being dismissed in 1972 for authoring Women and Sex, a groundbreaking discussion of the sexual exploitation of women, including prostitution, the trauma of female circumcision, incest and sexually transmitted diseases.


Gulf News 2/7/07; Deutsche Press Agenter (dpa) 2/16/07; “Female Genital mutilation” Nawal El Saadawi, February 2007

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