0743 GMT November 20, 2019
In a statement on Wednesday evening, the ministry also invited other Islamic countries to take a stance against 'the fair's organizers provocative actions'.
"Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the most prestigious book events in the world. However, in this year's edition, in flagrant contradiction to the objectives of the book fair and under cover of respecting freedom of expression and thought, Salman Rushdie, a figure, who has in the past garnered only the hatred of the Islamic world for penning 'Satanic Verses', to even find an opportunity to address the occasion on the unveiling of his latest work, with content, directly or indirectly, disputing Islamic beliefs and thought," the statement read, Mehr News Agency reported.
"It is unfortunate to see that the organizers of the event has lent themselves to the sycophancy of anti-Islamic and Israel circles, and has hurt the religious sentiments of world Muslims under the pretext of and abusing 'freedom of speech'. The glorification of a figure who has desecrated the sacrosanct figures of millions of believers is not only disrespecting freedom of expression, but it is also playing with human and religious values, which actually gives anti-Islam fanatics the grounds to seek their unscrupulous objectives," the statement lamented.
"Freedom of speech is a human value well-cherished by our national and religious culture; however, it should not be violated by politics, since it is not a political issue. We firmly believe that this great human achievement would not be cherished without respecting sanctities and values of religious communities and multitudes of believers; the Ministry of Culture, representing a nation which has always respected different cultures and religions, voluntarily abandons its rights to attend the book fair despite its preparation in advance along with its severe denunciation of the provocative action, and calls on other Islamic countries to take positions against the act," the statement emphasized.
The statement also recommends the organizers of Frankfurt Book Fair to "wisely eschew partiality in dealing with the sublime concept of freedom of expression and to provide opportunities for cooperation with Muslim nations and countries through correct measures".