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New Release: The Forbidden Arts, documenting religious responses to art

At a time when some Islamist currents are challenging freedoms of speech and expression, a new book documents the interaction of art and religion in the second half of the 20th century

Ahram Online , Saturday 31 Mar 2012
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Al-Fan Al-Harram (The Forbidden Art) by Ayman Alhakim, Cairo: Kitabat Publishing House. 2012. 194pp.

The author of the newly released book Al-Fan Al-Harram (The Forbidden Art) aims to document the major clashes of religious currents with different kinds of arts and artists across the second half of the 20th century in the Arab world.

The book uses many case studies, such as the case of accusing world-famous director Youssef Chahine of blasphemy, along with Palestinian singer Marcel Khalifa, the late Egyptian poet Amal Donqol and the renowned Egyptian singer and composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab.

The foreword to the book was written by renowned late writer and thinker Mostafa Mahmoud, who died in 2010.

The publication of the book is expected to spark controversy as it comes at a time when Islamic currents are playing a major role in Egyptian politics after the January 25 Revolution.

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