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5403BORDERS, WALDENBOOKS WON'T CARRY MAGAZINE

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  • World View
    Mar 31, 2006
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      Doing the right thing for the wrong reason...


      BORDERS, WALDENBOOKS WON'T CARRY MAGAZINE
      Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, 3/29/06
      http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/3757662.html


      BUFFALO, N.Y. — Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the
      April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons
      of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in
      several countries.

      "For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a
      top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge
      that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said
      Wednesday.

      The magazine, published by the Council for Secular Humanism in
      suburban Amherst, includes four of the drawings that originally
      appeared in a Danish newspaper in September, including one depicting
      Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse.

      Islamic tradition bars depiction of Muhammad to prevent idol worship,
      which is strictly prohibited.

      "What is at stake is the precious right of freedom of expression,"
      said Paul Kurtz, editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry. "Cartoons often
      provide an important form of political satire ... To refuse to
      distribute a publication because of fear of vigilante violence is to
      undermine freedom of press _ so vital for our democracy."

      Bingham said the decision was made before the magazine arrived at the
      company's stores. Borders Group, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., operates
      more than 475 Borders and 650 Waldenbooks stores in the United States,
      though not all regularly carry the magazine.

      "We absolutely respect our customers' right to choose what they wish
      to read and buy and we support the First Amendment," Bingham said.
      "And we absolutely support the rights of Free Inquiry to publish the
      cartoons. We've just chosen not to carry this particular issue in our
      stores."

      The cartoons, which were reprinted in European and American papers in
      January and February, sparked a wave of protests around the Islamic
      world. Protesters were killed in some of the most violent
      demonstrations and several European embassies were attacked.

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