Librarians are being told to move the Bible to the top shelf to avoid giving offence to followers of Islam.Hey, guys, in your own homes, put it where you wish! In the library, we’ll put it wherever the hell we want, subject to the Dewey system (if they still use that…?).
Muslims have complained of finding the Koran on lower shelves, saying it should be put above commonplace things.
At least, that’s what they should have said. Sadly, they scrambled to do the bidding of the professionally-aggrieved, as always:
So officials have responded with guidance, backed by ministers, that all holy books should be treated equally and go on the top shelf together.Oh, for the love of….!
This means that Christian works, which also have immense historical and literary value, will be kept out of the reach and sight of many readers.
Who decided that this would be a good idea? Well, step forward that man of all previous barking mad ideas about libraries:
The guidance was published by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, a quango answering to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham.And typically, it had no concept of what it was unleashing by rolling over:
It said Muslims in Leicester had moved copies of the Koran to the top shelves of libraries, in keeping with the belief that the Koran is the all-important word of God.Since when were libraries in the business of ‘not causing offence’ to religious troublemakers? Are we going to see the Scientology mob request that L Ron’s magnum opus is moved out of ‘science fiction’ and onto the top shelf next? Or the Creationists demand that Charles Darwin is moved to ‘fiction’?
The report said the city’s librarians consulted the Federation of Muslim Organisations and were advised that all religious texts should be kept on the top shelf.
‘This meant that no offence is caused, as the scriptures of all the major faiths are given respect in this way, but none is higher than any other,’ the guidance added.
Critics said such a move implied religious works should be treated as objects of veneration rather than as books to be read. Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank said: ‘Libraries and museums are not places of worship. They should not be run in accordance with particular religious beliefs.It is indeed…
‘This is violating the principles of librarianship and it is part of an insidious trend.’
And the usual suspects were quick to praise the authorities for making this decision:
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Engage think tank, which encourages Muslims to play a greater role in public life, said: ‘If Muslims wish to see the Koran placed on a higher shelf, and library rules say it should be there, then that is a welcome and considerate gesture.No, you wouldn’t, would you…?
‘But one size does not fit all. If Christians do not want to see the Bible treated in the same way, I do not see why it has to be dealt with the same.’
However, some of the other aspects of the report are even more worrying:
The guidelines warned against another decision made in Leicester, in which Islamic material had been bought from local suppliers.*sigh*
Libraries then found they had put into stock Islamic books that were condoning violence against non- Muslims, the report said.
And if that wasn’t enough to put the cat among the pigeons:
The new guidelines make it clear that pornography can be offered by libraries.Really…?
They said that some have stocked the Black Lace series of erotic stories aimed at women, and that others bought and lent Madonna’s Sex.
Hold on! I’ve got a great idea…. ;)