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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 12:54 GMT
Emirates ban Potter book
Harry Potter
Not-so-magic touch: Potter faces a ban in the UAE
The bestselling children's book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by JK Rowling has been banned from use in private schools in the United Arab Emirates.

The Ministry of Education and Youth is understood to have made the decision because it believes the story is contrary to Islamic values.

A BBC correspondent in Dubai, in the UAE, says all schools in the country that teach expatriate children have to submit their textbooks to the ministry for vetting.

There are thought to be no plans to withdraw the Harry Potter books from bookshops in the UAE, where all the novels in Rowling's series remain on sale.

George Orwell
Orwell's Animal Farm is banned in UAE private schools

The film of the first Harry Potter story has been widely shown in cinemas in the Emirates, and has proved popular among local people and foreigners alike.

The precise reason for the Potter ban is not known, but tales of the supernatural have reportedly been known to cause unease in some Islamic countries.

Another work on the banned list in the UAE is Nevil Shute's novel A Town Like Alice, whose female protagonist leads a band of women on a harrowing march across Malaysia during World War II.

Other prohibited books are deemed to carry false historical interpretations.

Maps showing the word Israel, rather than Palestine, have also fallen foul of the censor.


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