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Al Saqi Books closed after 44 years in London

London’s Al Saqi Books has decided to end its 44-year journey. As a result of economic conditions. The bookshop’s owner and director, Salwa Gaspard, attributed the closure to lockdowns and supply chain breakdowns.

The decision was also influenced by the cost of books from Arab countries, in addition to the economic conditions in the UK.

 Al Saqi Books was founded in 1978 by André and Salwa Gaspard and their companion Mai Ghoussoub. The couple started the bookshop in Bayswater, London, after moving from war-torn Beirut.

Expats from Arab countries became interested in it soon after it became popular. It was also popular among Arab visitors.

There have also been many difficulties faced by the bookshop. Some of them are censorship crackdowns, attacks during the second Gulf War, and after the publication of Salman Rushdie’s controversial The Satanic Verses, inventory depletion during the Lebanon war in 2016. 

Announcing the decision, the bookshop tweeted, “Bidding farewell to an iconic London bookshop: Al Saqi Books stood for the freedom of thought and expression, cultural diversity, and empathy.