Paris, 20 February 2017
In a letter to SIEL (Salon International de l'Edition et du Livre) Casablanca Book Fair, the Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended its Director Dr. Hassan El Ouazzani.
Samuels stated that, "after six years of monitoring the SIEL of Casablanca and its sister Arab Book Fairs, for hate on the display shelves, we were delighted to receive your inspiring response. This was truly in the spirit of Article 5.6 of the SIEL exhibitors’ contract: 'Publications displayed may not violate:
- public decency
- the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco or its religious precepts
- public sensitivity' "
The Centre praised El Ouazzani for his commitment that, "this 23rd Casablanca Fair would not allow the display of books which encourage hate and extremism like Mein Kampf" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT11TH1A7TA
The letter emphasized that "apparently, only 20 out of 120,000 books on show were blacklisted, mainly disrespectful to Islam – especially objectionable in that the Fair faces the great Hassan II mosque of Casablanca".
Samuels lamented that, "despite your good will, Mein Kampf was, however, available for purchase at the Fair (see: top of the pile marked by red rectangles) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1871133419831614&set=a.1494162537528706.1073741829.100008049227616&type=3" adding that, "this edition was published by Kunooz Publishing and Distribution of Egypt".
The letter argued that, "many such publishers slip through the cracks by participating through a third-party Arab collective stand, thereby evading their contractual obligations".
Samuels explained that "our annual work in Frankfurt – the industry’s largest Fair – is to cooperate with the authorities to identify and blacklist titles fomenting hate and violence, even on collective displays"... stressing that, "needless to say, we will do our best to see that Kunooz and other delinquents are banned from Frankfurt 2017".
"Mr. Director, our Centre is ready to work, similarly, with you and the Culture Ministry, for a hate-free SIEL 24, next year in Casablanca... we could then ensure that your goodwill will not be thwarted by infiltration", concluded Samuels.