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Responding to Amazon & the Koran Defacement case

Reader comment on item: Amazon.com's Koran Desecration Problem

Submitted by Mike Feldbush (United States), May 20, 2005 at 18:10

I attach a copy of my comments to Amazon.com:

To: Patty Smith, Amazon.com
Subject: Please do not cave in to unreasonable demands

Dear Ms. Smith,

As a long-time customer of Amazon.com, I urge you not cave in to the
demands of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Doing so would
constitute an obsequious act of appeasement

While I think that this incident is unfortunate and I think that what
was written inside that Koran is ugly and in extremely poor taste,
purchasers of used books have no reasonable expectation that they will
never encounter offensive markings.

If the book had happened to be a Bible, a Bhagavad Gita, a Book of
Mormon, or a Buddhist holy book, would this story even have made the
national news? Responding to this incident by condemning the
desecration of texts sacred to Muslims only (as MPAC's web site
demands) will have the effect of granting Muslim sensibilities
superiority over those of other religions. While I respect Muslims
and their religion, Islam does not deserve a place above other
religions in the United States of America.

Suspending (possibly terminating) relations with a third-party seller
based on a single, unproven (and indeed unprovable) allegation will
have a chilling effect on business at your site. If book sellers
become afraid to sell because someone might be offended by doodled
remarks the seller may or may not catch, you can be sure the variety
and volume of used books available through your site will decrease.

I urge Amazon not to accede to a shakedown by MPAC. Especially, don't
fund any "educational programs that foster religious tolerance" based
on this single incident (as their web site demands). That would be
akin to blackmail and would only encourage similar actions by groups
of all religious and political stripes.

Finally, I encourage Amazon to provide a public response clearly
explaining why it will not accede to MPAC's demands, and that it has
done everything in its power to remediate this unfortuante situation
at the individual customer level (as I understand you have already


Mike Feldbush

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