Friday, October 1, 2010

Talking About Islam During Banned Books Week

Over on the Book View Cafe Blog, we've been writing about censorship in support of Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by booksellers and librarians to counter the attacks mounted against some books. Aquedista Sue Lange waxed funny on banning badly written books, I wrote about porn and the Supreme Court, and others provided eloquent insights on Mein Kampf, gatekeeping, comic books, the history of censorship, and the like.

But given recent issues in the SF/F world about Islam, I think Aqueduct fans will particularly appreciate today's post from Judith Tarr, Banned Books: Devil of the Week. Judith, who has actually read the Qur'an and written alternate history that incorporates Islamic culture, writes movingly about the apparently societal need for a "bugbear" and the lies and wars that got us into this mess. She says:
Hate is hate. Bigotry is the same, whatever its target. People have to hide their racism and their sexism behind code words and cultural shorthand, but it’s fairly widely accepted that the word “Muslim” signifies something negative. Something that, even if you’re quite tolerant and rather well educated, you have to defend yourself for defending.
There's also a guest post on the blog by Bahram Nadimi on Islamic contributions to Western culture, with a link to the Common Ground blog, where he plans to continue exploring this topic.

Update 10/2/10: Sarah Zettel's post today on the Qu'ran and book burning also gives us some well-chosen words on how those who would burn books are trying to "erradicate ideas." She points out, "But, as with the people who would ban books, the people who would burn them seldom know what is actually IN the books."

Anyway, more antidotes for the hateful and poisonous words that seem to make up the bulk of this conversation.

1 comment:

Josh said...

I recognized Nadimi's "Being Iranian, I was asked questions about Islam (even though I am not a Muslim)." Not just because I've been approached by people expecting me to defend Old Testament law (even though I don't practice Judaism), but because the late Edward Said was asked all the time to explain Islam (although he came from a Christian family, and indeed is sometimes dismissed by conservatives as being unable to understand How Bad Muslims Are for that reason).