Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sometimes Book Banning Is the Only Answer That Makes Sense

I realize that all of us cringe when we hear or read stories about censorship or the banning of certain books in schools and public libraries. But do some books actually deserve that fate because providing free access to them places the public in danger? I think so, and I think that some public libraries in the U.K. are making a stupid mistake by placing these books on their shelves.
Public libraries are stocking hundreds of Islamic books by advocates of "holy war", with many glorifying acts of terrorism, a new report claims.

Council taxpayers' money has been spent on the books, with one library stocking works by the convicted preachers Abu Hamza and Abdullah al-Faisal.

An investigation by a leading think-tank found extremist literature at six libraries, three in the London area, two in the Midlands and one in the North.

It raises fears that public libraries could inadvertently fuel the radicalisation of young Muslims.

The recent case of Dhiren Barot, who was jailed for 30 years for plotting a series of atrocities, showed that terrorists have used university libraries for research.

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and the Government's new adviser on security issues, said: "I don't oppose free speech but the amount of this material is frightening.
...
"Many of these books stocked in the Islam section of libraries glorify acts of terrorism against followers of other religions, incite violence against anyone who rejects jihadist ideologies and endorse violence and discrimination against women," the report says.

"In a number of cases these books are not only on library shelves but are also given special prominence in displays.
...
Birmingham and Ealing councils said they were happy to stock any material that was legal while Steve Rigby of Blackburn council said: "Librarians do not act as censors where titles are freely available."

Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain and a Government adviser, said: "These are authors who are widely read in the Muslim world and it is not surprising that they are stocked in areas where there happens to be the highest concentration of Muslims," he said.

"It does not necessarily mean you agree with them, it is part of a free society."
I will never understand why so many well-meaning, but very gullible, people in the West still fail to comprehend what is happening right under their noses. Both in Europe and in North America, young people are being brainwashed to hate the very society in which they have lived their entire lives. Why would anyone want to make it easier for those whose only purpose in life is to destroy us? Does anyone really need to read Women Who Deserve to Go to Hell at a time when young Muslim women are being killed in the U.K. because they have "shamed" their families by falling in love with a non-Muslim, or even with a Muslim who practices a different variation of Islam than the one approved by the woman's father and brothers? If so, let them find and pay for the book themselves. Why make it so easy?

The line between censorship/book banning and public safety is a very fine one. But I believe that times have changed enough that we need to risk erring on the side of safety rather than on the side of a principle that may very well be failing us now. Yes, sometimes book banning is the only thing that makes sense.

8 comments:

  1. It's such a difficult question. We need freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, in order to prevent tyranny by the state. But when people advocate the overthrow of the state by violent means I think they cross the line, and it shouldn't make a difference whether the do it in a book, website, or mosque.

    The safest thing to do is probably to make it a criminal matter to be decided in the public courts, not administered in some government office and subject to the sort of obfuscation and secrecy that some administrations (ahem) are prone to.

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  2. It's a difficult problem for the free world, Sylvia, and there are no simple answers.

    I have to admit that I find myself more and more willing to give up, or to limit, a few of my freedoms in order to protect my country and my family. It's a shame that we are being forced to make these decisions because our enemies are winning the fight by forcing us to even consider these questions.

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  3. Well, at least it gets the men reading......

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  4. Nothing suprises me about my country anymore. This comes in the same week as a report by a responsible newspaper claiming that 50% of the mosques in the UK are controlled by extremists. Maybe it's time to also ban these mosques?

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  5. Carrie, I'd be happier to see the ones attracted to this kind of book to remain illiterate forever more...and I certainly would not want to see my tax dollars buying this garbage for their consumption.

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  6. Nick, I just don't know what the answer is anymore. The West is just making it all too easy for these animals to destroy us.

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  7. Agree with Sylvia -- the first amend. does not give you the right to advocate overthrowing the gov't.

    I also think that books that purport to represent reality should have a connection to reality, i.e., tax money should not be spent on Holocaust denial books or children's books that talk about how wonderful life is in Cuba.

    Libraries by definition censor every time they make a decision to buy or not to buy a book. They have limited resources and can't get every book published.

    Nor should they.

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  8. All great points, factotum. I completely agree with you. Political correctness will be the death of this country...and the West. Sad, that.

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