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‘Arabian Nights’ too steamy for Arab world

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One Thousand and One Nights
(Wikimedia Commons)

A Muslim group in Egypt called Lawyers Without Shackles ironically wants to shackle one of the world’s great early works of literature — a work that forms a large part of its own cultural heritage.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the fundamentalist organization wants to “purify” the Arabic masterpiece One Thousand and One Nights, a multigenerational epic also known as The Arabian Nights that has given us the tales of Sinbad, Ali Baba, Aladdin and the bewitching storyteller Scheherazade.

“The book contains profanities that cannot be acceptable in Egyptian society,” a member told LAT.

The work certainly contains a fair amount of ribaldry, but I fear the Lawyers are a little late: The collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories dates back as far as the early 800s, so this genie’s been out of the bottle for well over 1,000 years. Good luck with that.

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