Our friends at Arabic Literature (in English) recently looked at censorship in Kuwait, where rumours of „sex books“ in libraries have stirred some heated discussions. But, according to Kuwaiti Minister of Education and Higher Education Bader Al-Essa, these rumours are greatly exaggerated.

ADIBFThe Kuwait-based Arab Times wrote — in an article titled ‘Presence Of Sex Books In Public Libraries Rumors’ – that Al-Essa had said:

What is being published about the presence of sex books in public libraries…he called it news promoted by the social networking websites such as Twitter and others, but there is no evidence or an iota of truth in such news.

Al-Essa went on to say that anyone with “proof” should submit it to the concerned authority.

But he also promised to check up on any of these allegations, as “Essa said there are hundreds of news reports that need to be checked and confirmed and that the ministry wants to check and confirm their authenticity.”

From a relatively free 1960s and 1970s, Kuwait has become one of the most censorious Arab countries for literature, keeping wide swaths of books from their bookstores, libraries, and annual fall book fair. There are regular complaints against censorship at the Kuwait book fair as well as regular defenses.

This year, a coalition of rights groups protested ahead of the 39th annual fair, pressing the government to give up its wide powers to ban books.

One of the protest organizers, Ahmed Soud, told the Arab Times that “Censorship in Kuwait has no criteria, no standards. … „We aim to change the process of banning. It should be restricted, so each book can only be banned by a court order.”

But with scaremongering rumors of “sex books” in public libraries, it seems the protesters still have a lot of work to do.

Keep on reading here.