Fury as Virgin Megastore recommends Hitler's Mein Kampf

Twitter users have created a social media backlash after Virgin Megastore recommended Mein Kampf to Arabic readers in Qatar. 

The picture of the translated version of Mein Kampf in Qatar's Virgin Megastore taken by resident Charlie Gandelman. Picture courtesy of Charlie Gandelman.
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Virgin Megastore has pulled Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf from its 'recommended' reads in its Qatar store after a social media backlash on Twitter.

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The music, entertainment and media retailer came under fire as pictures have been circling the internet of a 'Virgin Recommends' book shelf with Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf for sale and published in Arabic.

Virgin recommended the book in its store in the Landmark Shopping Centre in Doha. It has since taken it off the shelves.

Charlie Gandelman took the picture and then posted it on Twitter after he was alerted to it by his friend Anna Peregrini.

He said: "My friend was very shocked and sent a very passionate email to Virgin but got no response. I have seen this book on sale before but to have it in the recommended section of an international British brand associated with Richard Branson is surprising. After Anna got no response from the company I posted it on twitter to see where it would go."

Anna, 39, who also lives in Qatar, said: "It is one thing for this to be on sale, I do not believe in censorship, but to be promoted in this way crosses a line. This isn't a specialist history bookshop, it only has a small number of such titles on sale, so the fact it has been chosen says something, but to be recommended in this way is shocking.

"To start with I gave Richard Branson the benefit of the doubt, I'm sure this would not be something he would know about, but to write and then receive no response from the company is disappointing, which is why we tweeted it.

"This is a store which sells to the younger generation, is the store saying this book is cool?"

Followers on twitter soon picked up the story and started commenting.

"It has come to this! Virgin Megastore in Qatar recommends Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' to its Arab readers," tweeted one account yesterday.

The book was first published in 1925 and charts the Nazi leader's increasing anti-semitic views and hatred of both communism and Judaism.

"Mein Kampf recommended reading in Virgin Qatar @richardbranson," said one Twitter account.

Other Twitter users also berated Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Megastores and a famous entrepreneur, on his own Twitter account.

"Please say it isn't so @RichardBranson > Virgin Megastores recommending Mein Kampf in Arabic," said another account.

Virgin Megastores Middle East are owned and run by the Azadea Group, based in Lebanon.

In a statement to The National the company said: "Virgin Megastore Middle East is a regional leader in retail entertainment, offering our customers a wide range of products in many languages, genres and interests to satisfy the demand of our consumers across CDs, DVDS, electronics, gadgets and toys, multimedia games and accessories and books.

"Each Virgin Megastore in the Middle East is responsible for the merchandising of products within its respective store and is not merchandised via a planogram from headquarters.

"Recently, one of the region's Virgin Megastores included in its book section the Arabic translation of Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler, a title available worldwide in major bookstores and online.

"For one day, the book was included in the recommended section. The recommended tag was not an endorsement of the book's author or its content. In response to a customer, we removed the title from the display. Commentary in the public domain was also taken seriously by Virgin Megastore and our policy is always to listen and respond immediately."

Virgin is the second Middle Eastern retailer to come under criticism on Twitter in consecutive days after shoppers began boycotting M.H. Alshaya stores due to the company's new policy on refunds.

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