Reverse priviledges
Posted by aogSunday, 02 April 2006 at 12:35 TrackBack Ping URL

Via Little Green Footballs is a report about the Border book chain appeasement of Caliphascist demands. There is Borders’ refusal to carry a magazine that is normally stocked because it has some of the drawings from the Comic Jihad. In addition is this claim from an employee:

I was shifting rows of books in our religion section and it happened to be that all of our Koran books (a section on its own) ended up on the bottom shelf. The next day I was informed by my General Manager that it is Borders policy as a whole (not my particular store) that due to complaints in the past from Muslim customers, we are not allowed to put our copies of the Koran on any shelf other than the top.

As usual, two thoughts spring to mind.

The first is the common rhetorical question that gets asked is why so many organizations will accede to demands from Muslims but not from, say, evangelical Christians. The standard answer is that Muslims are percieved (with justifcation) as being far more likely to become violent in response to refusal to “cooperate”. I would agree that there is something to this, but it seems to me that even so, the more likely response to threats of violence from Christians would be demands for increased protection from the state, rather than acquiesence. Yet one also notes the standard corporate response to other less mainstream religions such as Scientology. I suspect that the social acceptance among the chatterati for “standing up the fascist theocrats” (who are always Christian) is as large a factor as the violence itself.

The other thought ties back to the thread I have been following on immigration and a discussion I had over at Brothers Judd. This concerned the issue of there apparently being different and looser standards for illegal immigrants than for legal immigrants and natives. Because the USA is a Christian country, Islam is seen as an immigrant religion and incidents like this will feed not only distrust of Islam but distrust of immigrants as well. And the latter will naturally focus on illegal immigrants because they are already demonstrating contempt for our laws and customs. And finally, it seems another thread in the weaving of our loss of cultural confidence, that we as a society seem unwilling to impose the same restraints on Islam as we do on our own dominant religion.

P.S. See also this comment on CAIR’s reaction to all of this.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Jeff Guinn Monday, 03 April 2006 at 19:51

It seems Peter B got awfully hung up on the concept of free speech. I’m pretty certain that all of those signs in the photos could easily be construed as “fighting words,” and just as liable to punishment as falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

Everyone of them should be handed a one-way ticket back to their Insanistan of originb.

Jeff Guinn Monday, 03 April 2006 at 19:53

And I completely forgot to address your main point.

Border’s should have told its Muslim customers that books end up on the shelves where the sort criteria puts them.


I’m going to check our local Border’s — if the Islamic books are top shelf arranged, and defy the existing sort criteria, I have spent my last dime there.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 03 April 2006 at 19:59

No, I think Peter’s point there was about having higher standards for immigrants. The key point was that you wouldn’t accept those kind of statements from natives, either. Personally, I don’t see any reason not to have stricter standards for immigrants who are not yet citizens, but Peter’s point about what to do once the immigrant is a citizen is still a good one.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 03 April 2006 at 20:01

If I were running Borders, I would have simply stopped selling the Koran.

cjm Monday, 03 April 2006 at 20:17

exactly. if a given set of customers is more trouble than they are worth, then stop stocking anything they want to buy. borders is going to lose a lot of business over their amorality, and may just go under because of their craveness.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 03 April 2006 at 20:46

We should also keep in mind that although LGF is generally reliable, even that website labeled this as based only on a single e-mail.

cjm Tuesday, 04 April 2006 at 08:56

i will try and get to a borders and do some recon.

cjm Tuesday, 04 April 2006 at 13:30

This was an issue that I wanted to verify and study before reporting fully on, and I have now done so. In fact, the managers at a local Borders were more than happy to share with me the details of this policy. At Borders, the Koran must be stocked on a shelf above a certain height from the ground. The Torah is also subject to this rule, though no other religious texts are.

Pim’s Ghost

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 04 April 2006 at 14:25

Thanks for the information. It does diminish my point a bit if the Torah gets the same treatment. It seems likely, based on this, that the “top shelf” rule was simply a local shorthand to make sure the “above a certain height” rule was satisfied. Easier than measuring shelf heights.

cjm Tuesday, 04 April 2006 at 14:28

there is a difference between accomodation and capitulation, and this seems like a case of the former.

maybe we can get the same deal for the Knuth series :)

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 04 April 2006 at 14:39

The point about the Free Inquiry magazine is significant, but if Border is doing the stocking that way for the Torah as well, then it’s far more plausible that Borders is simply doing it for those who asked.

P.S. I couldn’t resist prettying up your previous comment.

cjm Wednesday, 05 April 2006 at 12:03

i noticed how much better it looked :) mind if i send over some source code for the same treatment :P

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