Friday, March 31, 2006

Borders Books & Music caves into Muslims

Those of our readers who follow the blogosphere know that Borders has refused to stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine. I was among probably the thousands who wrote to complain to Borders. I did get a response, mimicking the line from its spokesperson:
Thank you for your expression of concern about our decision not to carry the issue of Free Inquiry magazine featuring cartoons depicting Muhammad.

Borders is committed to our customers' right to choose what to read and what to buy and to the First Amendment right of Free Inquiry to publish the cartoons. In this particular case, we decided not to stock this issue in our stores because we place a priority on the safety and security of our customers and our employees. We believe that carrying this issue presented a challenge to that priority.

We value your thoughts and sincerely appreciate that you invested your time to tell us how you feel about the issue. I can assure you that our management team gave careful deliberation to this decision and considered all sides of the issue before reaching this conclusion. As always, we are interested in customer feedback about our choices and while we know you do not agree with our position, we hope you can understand the challenge of balancing the needs of our customers, employees and our communities.

We appreciate the time you have taken to bring your concerns to our attention. If you should have any other questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Customer Resolution Specialist

Borders is clearly concerned about reprisals. That's rather telling, as its headquarters is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, close to Detroit, which has the biggest concentration of Muslims in the US (the DC area might come in as a close second).

Many might have read the email sent by a Borders employee to LGF stating that it is Borders policy to stack copies of the Qur'an on the top shelf in deference to Muslim sensitivities. Meanwhile, our compatriot Dymphna at Gates of Vienna dug this interesting item in her article Borders Pays the Infidel Jizya:
Borders Inc., a subsidiary of global book, music and movie retailer Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE:BGP), announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Al Maya Group, a diversified corporation headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, to establish a franchise arrangement under which Al Maya will operate Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries ... Terms and conditions of the anticipated agreement will not be disclosed [emphasis mine].

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