Banned Book Week 4

Whether fiction or non-fiction, books that appear to challenge, discredit or disparage deeply held beliefs can be extremely dangerous, even fatal, to their authors and publishers. There are many examples of journalists, pamphleteers, filmmakers, and cartoonists as well as authors whose lives have been made hell by the book banners.

Theodoor “Theo” van Gogh (Dutch: [ˈteːjoː vɑn ˈɣɔx], 23 July 1957 – 2 November 2004) was a Dutch film director, film producer, columnist, author and actor.

Van Gogh worked with the Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the film Submission, which criticized the treatment of women in Islam and aroused controversy among Muslims. On 2 November 2004 he was assassinated by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.

Mohammed Bouyeri murdered Van Gogh as he was cycling to work in the early morning of 2 November 2004, in front of the Amsterdam East borough office …   The killer shot van Gogh eight times with an HS 2000 handgun, and Van Gogh died on the spot. The killer also tried to decapitate van Gogh with a knife, and stabbed him in the chest with another. The two knives were left implanted; one attached a five-page note to his body. The note (Text) threatened Western countries, Jews and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (who went into hiding). The note also referred to the ideologies of the Egyptian organization Takfir wal-Hijra.

Have you seen Ayaan Hirsi Ali on television… she is remarkably articulate and passionate about her beliefs, and her work Infidel is worth careful reading.

Then of course, there is the terrible case of Salmon Rushdie, once again in the news because of allegedly offensive behaviour he had nothing to do with.  Speaking on British radio before the news of the increased bounty, Rushdie called the online film “idiotic … a piece of garbage” but he also condemned violent protests against it as “an ugly reaction that needs to be named as such”.

Jemal Countess / Getty Images
Author Salman Rushdie lived in hiding for a decade in the wake of a fatwa issued in 1989 over his novel “The Satanic Verses.” His Japanese translator was stabbed to death in 1991 and his Italian translator was injured in a stabbing that same year.

“I am adding another $500,000 to the reward for killing Salman Rushdie, and anyone who carries out this sentence will receive the whole amount immediately,” said Hassan Sanei, the foundation’s head, in a statement carried by the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA)… The reward offered by the state-linked foundation now stands at $3.3 million, ISNA reported… “Surely if the sentence of the Imam (Khomeini) had been carried out, the later insults in the form of caricatures, articles and the making of movies would not have occurred,” said Sanei, who is also the foundation’s representative to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini’s successor.

Please open the link to watch the whole story…  it’s importance continues to grow. The fatwa against Rushdie was increased because of his comment about the online video that has caused so much unrest. Speaking on British radio before the news of the increased bounty, Rushdie called the film “idiotic … a piece of garbage” but he also condemned violent protests against it as “an ugly reaction that needs to be named as such”. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday and several other people have died in protests around the Muslim world against the amateurish video, “Innocence of Muslims”. The unrest continues.

A woman photographed in the standard version of the IKEA catalog, left, is missing from pages of the Saudi version, right.

Sometimes you just can’t win. Ikea photoshopped images of women out of its newest catalogue for distribution in Saudi Arabia. They subsequently had to apologize for doing so, as women were angered by their apparent pandering to a misogynist regime and culture.

If it weren’t so important… and so tragic… it would be comicly ironic! Please read this link from The Boston Globe…  IKEA’s Saudi Problem


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