A reader sends me this tip. Seems that an American college student bought a used copy of the Koran through Amazon only to discover “Death to all Muslims” and “F*ck this sh*t” written inside the front cover.
“I was taken back to after Sept. 11 and my fear of even leaving my apartment,” [Azza] Basarudin told a news conference.
Well, that might be a bit of an overreaction. But there’s no doubt that it’s insulting and offensive. I don’t know the laws pertaining to this or Amazon’s policies, but I’m not sure how responsible Amazon itself is for this sort of thing.
In any event, Amazon apologized to the student, refunded her money, sent her a new copy of the Koran, and issued her a gift certificate. Is that enough? I think it probably is, considering that they weren’t the source of the defaced book. Pennsylvania-based Bellwether Books actually had and sold the book through Amazon’s used book network. They’ve been suspended from selling the Koran through Amazon, though if I were Amazon I’d ditch them entirely.
But the MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council) said it wanted Amazon to issue a public apology and condemnation and establish a zero-tolerance policy toward sellers and employees.
“It is important for business leaders to come out with a zero tolerance policy. Amazon has a responsibility to make a public apology and condemnation,” said spokeswoman Edina Lekovic.
Lekovic said the desecrated Koran was part of a “cult of hate that may exist and may be on the rise.”
First of all, while it would be nice of Amazon to apologize publicly, it’s Bellwether Books that the MPAC should be hounding. But maybe Bellwether’s pockets aren’t deep enough.
The quote about 9/11, according to the MPAC, is:
“I was paralyzed after 9/11 — I couldn’t leave my house for a couple of weeks — and I realized that fear was coming back. I couldn’t even go near this book for a couple of days. I feel like I’m being violated all over again because I’m a Muslim.”
That makes more sense to me when put that way, I guess.
The MPAC is also urging people to contact Amazon and request a public apology, complete termination of relations with Bellwether Books, and support and funding for educational programs that foster religious tolerance.
We’re going to be seeing a lot more of this over the next few months due to heightened awareness and increased newsworthiness, among other things.