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Bush ‘ancestor’ book

Cairo, June 23 (Reuters): Censors at al-Azhar, Cairo’s centre of Islamic learning, today passed a 19th century biography of Prophet Mohammad by a scholar portrayed in the Arabic media as an ancestor of President George W. Bush.

The Academy for Islamic Studies, which censors religious books, had recommended last year that the government ban The Life of Mohammad by American scholar George Bush, first published in 1830 and reissued in the US in 2002.

“The author includes some inaccuracies, but this is not surprising as they are coming from a Christian who accumulated his knowledge in the conditions of the time,” Egypt’s official new agency said, quoting a report from the centre.

The censors did not give a reason for retracting the ban.

Last year, newspaper articles had criticised the book’s account of early Islamic history and quoted Bush as saying Muslims spread Islam by force and persecuted Christians, for example. At least one of the newspaper articles came with large photographs of George W. Bush and his father, former President George Bush, and references to the Bush family.

The genealogical link between the author of the book and the President could not be confirmed by the book’s US publishers or the Bush family. Family trees of the Bush family on the Internet do not include the author, who was a prominent biblical scholar and preacher. Al-Azhar has the authority to ban books on religious themes. In practice, however, enforcement is in the hands of the government and banned books often remain available.

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