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Islamic State book burnings target minorities

The Islamic State has imposed strict conditions for books entering Iraq by land, confiscating all those related to Christianity and slowly destroying cultural pluralism in Iraqi society.
People read books during the launch of a reading initiative in Baghdad September 29, 2012. The "I am Iraqi... I read" initiative was launched by activists on Saturday in Baghdad to encourage Iraqis to read in a country that had suffered decades of war and internal struggle. Picture taken September 29, 2012. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani (IRAQ - Tags: SOCIETY EDUCATION) - RTR38M7Q
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NAJAF, Iraq — For decades, the overland route between western Iraq and Lebanon has been the busiest and most important passage for the transportation of books and publications to Iraq. Today, the route has fallen under control of the Islamic State (IS), with fighters censoring book shipments to prevent the entry of material and information they consider to be contrary to Islam. Given that the transportation of books by air and sea is much more costly, IS’ control over land routes will affect the market for and distribution of cultural products in Iraq.

Fighters usually inspect cargo, impose custom duties and confiscate any publication deemed contrary to their principles. The offending books are burned or otherwise destroyed on the spot. Moreover, the vehicle drivers face serious consequences. In many cases, they are only released after their relatives or the publishing houses they work for agree to pay large sums of money as ransom.

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