And I use the word “request” very loosely indeed. In case you were worried that that de facto fatwa they imposed by banishing Geert Wilders is part of a trend, the answer is yes.
Muslims have complained of finding the Koran on lower shelves, saying it should be put above commonplace things.
So officials have responded with guidance, backed by ministers, that all holy books should be treated equally and go on the top shelf together…
The report said the city’s librarians consulted the Federation of Muslim Organisations and were advised that all religious texts should be kept on the top shelf.
‘This meant that no offence is caused, as the scriptures of all the major faiths are given respect in this way, but none is higher than any other,’ the guidance added…
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Engage think tank, which encourages Muslims to play a greater role in public life, said: ‘If Muslims wish to see the Koran placed on a higher shelf, and library rules say it should be there, then that is a welcome and considerate gesture.
‘But one size does not fit all. If Christians do not want to see the Bible treated in the same way, I do not see why it has to be dealt with the same.’
Sound familiar? Borders caved on exactly this point a few years ago, reserving pride of place for the Koran on the top shelf of their stores lest they get a taste of what Wilders has to live with every day from his Islamic “critics.” It’s a cowardly policy but somewhat understandable in the case of a private corporation; in the case of a state with armies at its disposal, not so much. Bizarrely, the main objection from Christians interviewed for the story isn’t that the Koran’s getting special treatment, it’s that sticking the Bible way up top will make it less accessible to library-goers looking for a copy. Hey, guys? Focus. Exit question: Can you think of anyone with a media megaphone who might take noisy exception to British libraries putting sacred texts above “commonplace things” like Darwin and Newton? Speak up, man.