Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hate on the State

A fascinating report has been produced today by the Civitas offshoot, The Centre for Social Cohesion, written by Douglas Murray and James Brandon it points to the prepobnderance of Islamaist books in the public libraries (specifically the public libraries of Tower Hamlets).

Its conclusions make interesting reading
"It is to be expected – and indeed applauded – that public libraries in areas with large Muslim populations should be receptive and responsive to the interests of local people.
However it now appears that because of mistakes by library staff, or the presence of
ideologues in the library system, a number of publicly-funded libraries – in Tower
Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Birmingham and Blackburn – now stock excessively large
collections of certain Islamic texts designed to incite hatred and violence.
In the opinion of the authors of this report, there is no harm in libraries stocking
a small number of radical Islamic texts alongside a larger number of mainstream
Islamic works and critical texts – just as a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf could be legitimately stocked in sections dealing critically with the Third Reich. However if the Second World War section of a library was stocked largely with books by Hitler and his followers, or if such books were stocked in a libraries’ ‘spirituality’ or ‘selfhelp’ section, questions would rightly be asked. Equally it is unhelpful for libraries to
present books by radical authors such as Maududi, Qutb and ibn Abdul Wahhab as
neutral guides to Islamic practices and beliefs.
It is not the aim of this study to point fingers and ask how so many libraries, including eight council-run libraries in the heart of Tower Hamlets (one of the UK’s most Muslim areas), have became saturated with extreme Islamist books. Certainly
negligence has played a role; maybe senior library staff are unaware of the content of
books in Arabic, Bengali and Urdu. However, the huge number of such books, in all
languages, makes it unlikely that so many intolerant, and often violent, texts could
have been acquired purely by accident. Whatever the cause, it is time that the UK’s
library services regained control of their collections."

What with recent warnings about the spread of Islamism through campuses and beyond a worrying picture is emerging. I am generally of the cock-up theory of life, but this all seems to be part of a trend.

However there is a stridancy to the report that I find unsettling. If, as I understand Libraries have to stock books that have been requested, the lack of balance described must be ascribed to the choices of the local inhabitants. If people in the Borough wanted to read Robert Spencer or Ibn Warraq and requested copies, then they would be there.

Is what Murray and Brandon are calling for the first step on the way to book burning?

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