After the Islamist Salafist spokesman, Abdel Moneim El-Shahat described the works of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz as “promoting prostitution,” artistic and intellectual circles have noted that the media hasn't risen to the defense or given much response, especially that this year marks Mahfouz’s centennial.
Mahfouz has been honoured at different international and Arab festivals this year, including the Abu Dhabi film festival, which dedicated a special section to film adaptations of his works.
Film critic Samir Farid considers what is currently happening is a new assassination attempt (Mahfouz was under death threats from conservative extremists and survived an assassination attempt).
Farid tole Ahram Online: “What infuriates me is the silence of many novelists and thinkers. If some Salafists attack him on television channels, then ignoring the statements is a crime, as well.”
“Currently, I am preparing for a celebration for Mahfouz’s centennial, which will start this Sunday at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and I fear that I will face opposition, since Alexandria has many Salafists, who are against Mahfouz's works,” he said
“We will be screening his works that were adapted in international cinema, like Mexican cinema, and will also screen old lectures that have been aired on television by Anis Mansour, Taha Hussein and Naguib Mahfouz himself,” he continued.
“Unfortunately, many writers have started appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists and one writer has even said that he supports their ideology and that he is with them,” he stated.
Farid fears that under the fear of repression by Islamists, many artists will emmigrate and make films and television series abroad.