Very popular cafe in Riyadh was shut down for having ‘illegal’ books

Translation: To our loyal customers, we appreciate your interest and inquiries. We want to clarify that the books have been seized by the Ministry of Culture and Information. We are addressing the issue.

One of the most popular spots for bookworms in Riyadh has been shut down following an investigation by Saudi authorities.

The Ministry of Culture and Information has also stripped Rawi Cafe, located on the campus of South Imam University, of all its books following the closure. But, the cafe has promised its visitors that it will reopen soon and will comply with all legal requirements.

The owners had previously been warned about obtaining a license that would give the cultural hub the legal right to display books on its shelves, according to reports. The Ministry of Culture said that the books on display had not been checked by the kingdom’s religious authorities.


Translation: Rawi Cafe is a treasure for the readers, researchers and academics … We will do our best to maintain this.  We will always keep a cautious eye on the legal status of the cafe

“The Ministry of Culture and Information confirms that it is keen to support the dissemination of culture and intellectuals, and all projects and cultural initiatives, provided it complies with the rules and regulations, and that is done through regular procedures and frameworks,” the ministry spokesperson said, according to The Independent.


Khalid Qadimi, the owner of the cafe, said that all the books in the cafe were purchased legally at book fairs in Riyadh. He also said that he is not obliged to get a license, considering the books are not borrowed or sold.

He is currently in talks with authorities to keep the cafe open.


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