A World of Speculation

After years of “edginess” and “speaking truth to power,” Borders Bookstores (and its little brother Waldenbooks) has rolled over before the Islamist fringe.

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.

And why is that?

“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.

But wait. I thought Islam was a religion of peace. Is Borders saying that selling a magazine with the Danish cartoons could put customers in danger? From whom? Fundamentalist Christians?

Combine that with what seems to be a consensus if not a policy among stores in the chain: Borders has begun putting the Koran on top shelves — “out of respect for the religion.” Is this the same religion a chain spokeswoman has just accused of being out-of-control lunatics who have gone nuts over some cartoons? Upper-shelf Koran placement doesn’t offend me, though. It’s the stuff at eye level that sells.

But I think I’ll be shopping Powell’s or Barnes and Noble in the future.

H/T: My friend Susan, who doesn’t have a blog but ought to.