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The American Library Association's Stealth Jihad Against Free Speech
by William J. Becker, Jr
Last month (September 2009), the American Library Association (ALA) sponsored Banned Books Week, an initiative purporting to promote intellectual freedom, which it defined as "the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular." Yet even while it was busy promoting the event to draw attention to "the harms of censorship," it was immersed in a separate stealth campaign to suppress intellectual freedom and to marginalize a dissenting voice.
On July 12, 2009, Robert Spencer, the editor of JihadWatch.com and author of the recently published "The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran," was invited to join a panel forum at the ALA's annual General Meeting on the topic "Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping."
As he was leaving to catch a plane for the event, Spencer learned that it had been cancelled. According to reports he later read on the Internet, Ahmed Rehab, Chicago executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was responsible for bringing about the cancellation. In a letter to ALA, Rehab wrote: "I ask you to rescind the invitation to Mr. Spencer in order to maintain the integrity of the panel and the reputation of the ALA." Mr. Spencer, he argued, offered "grotesque viewpoints that lie well outside the bounds of reason and civilized debate."
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