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Putting things in perspective

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

Submitted by Harry Antonides (Canada), Jun 3, 2005 at 14:05

M. Patty Smith
Director Of Corporate Communications
c/o psmith@amazon.com

Dear Ms. Smith:

I would urge you not to meet the demands of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, made on behalf of Ms. Azza Basarudin. These demands amount to a direct attack on the freedom of religion and on your company's freedom to carry on business. Please consider the following:

It is far-fetched to expect that a bookseller is responsible for every inane or offensive comment that someone may have penned in a used book.

Strict Muslims revere the Koran as a sacred book that must be handled with the utmost reverence. It is incomprehensible that such a person would turn to a used book distributor, for he/she cannot be sure that a used copy has not been defiled.

Ms. Basarudin could easily avoid the problem by buying only brand-new copies of the Koran. To make doubly sure, she could order them from a Muslim source.

If you comply with all the requests of MPAC, including cutting your ties with Bellwether books, do not be surprised that next you will be told not to carry any books that are critical of Islam and the Koran.

It is also worth remembering that the Koran, at the center of this controversy, is the very book that proclaims non-Muslims to be cursed and worthy of hell fire and death. According to their own testimony, many Muslims on the basis of their reading of the Koran believe that in murdering non-Muslims, especially Americans, they serve Allah and earn a place in heaven.

It seems to me that the central issue in the demands made on your company by MPAC is the attempt to carve out a special place of privilege and control at the expense of the rest of us.

Your business is directly involved in the free flow of ideas and beliefs, and you should be adamant in defending that freedom.

In closing, I cannot escape the suspicion that Ms. Basarudin's hurt feelings may well be as fabricated as the story of the flushed copy of the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The time to say no to MPAC's outrageous demands is now.

Sincerely yours,

Harry Antonides

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