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My traditions are trampled upom

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

Submitted by Bernard (United States), May 24, 2005 at 12:54

Dear Ms Smith:

I read of the Koran "incident" in Daniel Pipes' excellent newsletter. As an author myself, former trade book editor and graduate historian of Asian religion, I urge you not to give in to what truly seems to be fraud and a shakedown because of Amazon's position and money.

Despite my (actually Scots) Islamic-seeming name, I am a Roman Catholic Christian, as you will see if you look me up in Used Books. I have been appalled by the Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili defacements of symbols I revere, as was an observant Jewish colleague of mine, but such organs as The New York Times urged me to recognize "artistic freedom." (I had also owned an art gallery in Santa Fe.)

Now, I don't think anyone could use that wretched and spurious argument in this case, but in fact, while I belong to the largest single religious denomination in the US, no accommodation is made to my sensibilities. Why should the public sphere have to accommodate Islamic "sensibilities" in this matter, especially when major segments of the Islamic world trample on Judaeo-Christian sensibilities and freedom of worship, even to the point of death, and when this "scholar" has all the earmarks of a propagandistic hustler?

The Saudis, the guardians of the two great Muslim shrines, are the most intemperate of all. One of my sisters has engaged in international shipping for four decades and she despises the Saudis for their vicious and barbarous intolerance.

I lived for 14 years in an American city with a large Muslim population [and I know that 75 percent of Arab-Americans are Christian]. We got on very well because of the respect I showed their faith and traditions, and they in turn mine. But this looks to me like a shakedown. I hope your treatment of Bellwether amounts to no more than a back-room agreement to avoid public contumely, and that Bellwether does not morph into Scapegoat. But if I hear that Amazon has contributed any money to these likely gangsters, I shall have to rethink my regular custom of Amazon. I appreciate your quandary, but I strongly urge you to stand your ground.

I would appreciate your not using my name in any public way in this matter, though you are free to quote any non-identifying segments of this letter for any purpose that would help your resistance to this engineered fraud.

Good luck.
Bernard H

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