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In Egypt, a year-old controversy over book burning is sparked anew

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It's enough to raise the hackles of bibliophiles from Cairo to California.

Last year, Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni was asked about the availability of Hebrew language books in the storied Library of Alexandria. “If there are any there, I will myself burn them in front of you,” he reportedly said. The comments were picked up several Western news sources, but did not really hit headlines until this spring, when Hosni was nominated for the head of UNESCO.

Now Hosni is being assailed by authors such as Bernard-Henri Lévy and Elie Wiesel, the Nobel peace laureate. Lévy, Wiesel, and Claude Lanzmann, a filmmaker, recently wrote an open letter demanding the international community reject Hosni's "nauseating" positions.


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