Egypt Bans The Da Vinci Code

There is soooo much that’s wrong in this story, that it’s hard to know where to begin, in Al Ahram.

“We [at the ministry] ban any book that insults any religion,” Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni told parliament last week. That the list now includes Dan Brown’s international bestseller The Da Vinci Code, translated into Arabic in 2003 and widely available since then, drew a round of applause from parliamentary members. The blockbuster film based on the book is likewise to be banned.

“The book is based on Zionist myths, and it contains insults towards Christ, insulting the Christian religion,” Coptic MP Georgette Sobhi told the People’s Assembly last week.

“Creativity is good, but not when the writer seeks to shake religious beliefs and contradict basic religious tenets,” said Bishop Piscenti of Helwan Church.

The People’s Assembly debated the book and film at the request of several Coptic MPs, who were joined by Muslim Brotherhood members.

“The Brotherhood had opposed the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed and will oppose any insult to Jesus Christ,” said Hussein Ibrahim, a Brotherhood MP.

The applause did not extend to cultural and human right circles, which saw the decision to ban the book and the film as politically motivated, and dealing a blow to freedom of expression and creativity.