Several Muslims countries as well as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) are boycotting a book fair in Paris because of the invitation of Israel. ISESCO claims that Israel has committed crimes against humanity in Palestine and therefore should not be celebrated. The book fair is honouring 39 Israeli writers and has said it is a coincidence that it falls on Israel’s 60th anniversary of independence. Prominent Swiss Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan has also supported the boycott. Writing in Le Monde newspaper, Ramadan said “choosing Israel as guest of honour at a time when Palestinians are dying in Gaza is tactless and a blunder.” Simon Peres, the President of Israel on a state visit to France this week, noted that the boycott was the stupidest thing I have ever heard of in my life. Next year’s guest of honour at the fair is Mexico.
Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish foreign minister, stressed the importance of Muslims in European countries and the sharing of a multitude of values, urging a joint fight against discrimination of Muslims in Europe. The head of the Spanish diplomacy stressed in a latter to the director of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the millions of Muslims that are essential to a prosperous Europe, both in their work and social presence.