We’ll be seeing more of this

Outrage over desecrated Koran bought on Amazon

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.


  1. The term ‘zero tolerance policy’ never fails to irritate me. Hitler had a very effective zero tolerance policy.

  2. Got to disagree with you about Amazon- this was a second hand book and many second hand books are sold with little more than a cursory glance to check them. I don’t see why a business should be forced to lose revenue because of this. There’s also the possibility that there never was anything written on the book when it was sold. Coming right on the heels of the Newsweek story the timing is, shall we say, suspicious? Sure, it could be a genuine incident but in the rush to kowtow to Islamic sensibilities a lot is being taken for granted here. The guilt of the bookseller has been presumed here without any question. Frontpage has a piece up about this here- http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18139. BTW, she was so scared of a comment on a book she couldn’t go near it for a few days? I guess that she’s not bothered by the passages in the Koran which advocate killing infidels? And what’s that about feeling ‘violated all over again’ because she’s a Mulsim- how does the murder of over 3000 people by Muslims make her feel violated? She also has been linked to CAIR which is known for its ‘dubious’ reports of so-called hate crimes- http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=15901_CAIRs_Hate_Crimes_Nonsense#comments

  3. In all fairness, Hitler also had a very effective military. That doesn’t stop us from having one. If you’re talking about a ‘zero tolerance policy’ for Jews, that’s one thing. If you’re talking about a zero tolerance policy for defacement of the Qur’an, that’s another. Although I don’t think either Amazon or Bellwether Books is responsible. If someone paints ‘death to Jews’ on my house, why should I be blamed for it?

  4. If the book was defaced by the bookseller after the purchase was made, it seems like a prima facie case of criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation under PA law. If it was defaced before Azza placed the order, it’s probably not a crime.

  5. I agree with Jay.Mac on the punishment deal: What would have happened if it was on page 99? It is dubios to expect a company to scan all its books from cover to cover. I always thought that was the risk of buying a second hand book? The fact that a kids book could very well have some sexual organ drawn on by a teenager who was being silly, whose parents go out and sell the book unknowingly. SECOND HAND = RISK Did I miss something? I thought that was obvious to the buyers.

  6. Sounds to me like Amazon did the right thing in the right amount. I have to agree with the other poster about them not being required, or needing to, inspect every used book sold through their site. I don’t blame the lady for being offended, but all this ‘I’m scared’ is just lame @#$$ whining. Get some heart lady. Stand up for Islam, and your rights to live without intimidation (of course if all it takes to intimidate you is some guff from a bigot written in a book……..you’re beaten before you start). If I had a dollar for every time someone threatened me or my family; I’d have retired 10 years ago. Are we supposed to get therapy and hide in our crib everytime we see some anti American graffiti, or people marching in protest? Sheesh!