Egads, another free speech controversy involving a tech giant. This time, it’s Amazon:
It’s the British government and the BBC, rather than CAIR, that are likely behind this, but Amazon has just dropped the book Mohammed’s Koran by the renowned British activist Tommy Robinson and Peter McLoughlin — and apparently only because its censors dislike Robinson.
Amazon should sell any tome that doesn’t incite violence (which might, incidentally, require them to ban sales of the actual Quran….oops!).
Yes, I understand that Amazon is not the government. Amazon is a private corporation, blah, blah, blah.
But there is a bit more to it than that, in 2019: Amazon’s increasing monopoly power in the book retailing sector now gives it near governmental powers. Fifteen years ago, there were three Borders bookstores within a short drive of my house. Now there are none.
For a growing number of consumers, Amazon is the only (practical) option for purchasing books.
This means that Amazon has a responsibility to act beyond narrow partisan considerations. We can certainly make the case that neither Facebook nor Twitter are essential to the intellectual life of the nation. Book retailing is different.
I understand that among folks of a certain political persuasion, pointing out the links between Islam and violence is regarded as a not-very-nice thing to do. We are all supposed to join hands and sing Kumbaya, then tap our heels together and repeat in unison, “Diversity is our strength.”
But the headlines of the last 30 years (beginning with the Salman Rushdie affair in 1989 provide evidence for another interpretation. If we must live with Islam, so be it, but we should also be able to frankly discuss and critique Islam…just like we can frankly discuss and critique Christianity, atheism, or any other worldview.
It’s called: the free marketplace of ideas…and it’s a wonderful thing, when either corporate or government censors don’t get in the way.
If Mr. Robinson, et al’s book is pure bunk, then I’m sure that will come out in the reader reviews. If his book makes worthwhile arguments, well…that will come out, too.
But we’ll never know, because Amazon’s corporate censors have arbitrarily banned it.
Amazon, do your duty as the world’s largest bookseller, and allow Mr. Robinson to sell his book at your store.