Giulio Meotti wrote on gatestoneinstitute.org that according to a report, “the Arab world, with its population of over 362 million people in 2012” produced about the same “number of books produced in countries like Romania (with a population of 21.3 million in 2012) and Ukraine (population 45.6 million) in 2012”. Another report by the RAND center also notes that “the number of public libraries in Egypt is about a tenth of those in Germany, which has a comparable population”. The Economist noted that Arab publishing industry is in “troubled”.
Many great writers in Islam are now foreigners at home. Salman Rushdie, targeted by an Iranian fatwa, has become “the disappeared”. At the age of 82, Naguib Mahfouz, the only Egyptian Nobel Laureate for Literature, was stabbed nearly to death by an Islamist. The Syrian poet Adonis exiled himself to Paris. The most celebrated Algerian writers, such as Kamel Daoud and Boualem Sansal, are treated as pariahs and threatened. Orhan Pamuk, the greatest Turkish writer, was also persecuted. The Lebanese Amin Maalouf lives in France. And many writers in Bangladesh have been hacked to death. Iran is experiencing a devastating “brain drain” to the West. And images of book-burnings have become sadly popular in the Muslim world, from the historic books burned at the Cairo Institute to ISIS’s destruction at the Mosul library.