Under pressure from the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Washington, D.C.-based group named an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror-funding case, a Texas library removed a graphic novel about super heroes fighting al-Qaida.
CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter said in a statement it “applauded a decision by the Plano Library to resolve an issue related to anti-Muslim material in its catalog,” reported Andrew Harrod for Jihad Watch.
The book, “Holy Terror,” is by renowned graphic-novel author Frank Miller.
Harrod called the book’s removal “a disturbing act of censorship and a flagrant violation of longstanding library standards,” noting the irony of it coming during the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week.
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The Plano Library director, Libby Holtmann, insisted to Harrod that the library “did not remove the subject item from its collection from a request by anyone including CAIRDFW,” referring to CAIR’s local chapter.
Instead, she said, the library “was alerted by a comment sent through social media.”
She claimed that upon examination, the book “did not have any professional reviews,” which she asserted is a “necessary component for maintaining an item.”
She also cited library records showing little reader interest in Holy Terror.
Harrod argued, however, that dozens of reviews of the comic book have been published, including by prominent newspapers and journals.
And he suggested that the controversy itself surrounding “Holy Terror” raised by groups such as CAIR would justify keeping a copy for the sake of healthy public debate.
Author: Book not about Islam
CAIR’s opposition to the book began when it was published in 2011. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad called it a “shameful” example of how “Islamophobia is becoming mainstream.”
CAIR-DFW Executive Director John Janney followed up by asking the Plano library about “standards, policies or code of ethics that the publicly funded library followed when faced with publications that dehumanize or marginalize minorities.”
CAIR describes itself as a Muslim civil-rights group, but the FBI determined in a terrorist-funding case in which top CAIR officials were named that it was founded as a Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group. The FBI consequently cut off its outreach activities with the national organization. More than a dozen CAIR leaders have been charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes. And the group also was designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.
CAIR-DFW claimed the book’s author, Miller, this year “expressed regret for the book,” implying he would support the censorship.
But Harrod points out that in an interview with the Guardian newspaper of London he said he did not “want to go back and start erasing books I did.”
In a 2011 interview when the book came out, he described “Holy Terror” as a specific “screed against al-Qaida,” not Islam.
“The issue here is a method of killing. It’s not a religion,” he said. “I can tell you squat about Islam,” but “I know a g—— lot about al-Qaida and I want them all to burn in Hell.”
Tolerance for the ‘detestable’
Harrod noted that during the annual Banned Books Week, ALA promotes a “Stand for the Banned Read-Out” for people to “declare your literary freedoms by reading from a banned book or discussing censorship issues on camera.”
ALA’s Library Bill of Rights “affirms that all libraries … should challenge censorship” and provide “information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.”
“Toleration is meaningless without tolerance for what some may consider detestable,” ALA emphasizes.
Harrod noted that Plano libraries hold materials such as Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and a DVD of the 1915 American white supremacist film “Birth of a Nation.”