Friday, September 28, 2007

Banned Authors Week

ALA's official Banned Books Week kicks off tomorrow. As usual, I will be commemorating this event in my own way here on this blog. Starting Sunday, I will be doing a period of programming called Banned Authors Week.

When I say "banned authors", I don't mean in the ALA sense of having had someone ask their local library not to carry your book. Rather, Banned Authors Week will be devoted to the all too numerous list of writers and other intellectuals who have been threatened with death, or in many cases were actually murdered, by Islamists because of their writings.

During the next week, I will provide links about and post lists of as many of these authors as possible. In particular I will try to move beyond the famous cases (Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen, etc.) and cover some of the less well known (to Western audiences) victims of Islamist intimidation and violence. Look also for some posts that deal with the broader context of intellectual freedom in the Muslim world.

Just to kick things off early, I refer you to a petition on the newly revamped web site of Irshad Manji. After Irshad and 11 other well known Muslim and former Muslim intellectuals released a manifesto in early 2006 condemning the totalitarian nature of Islamism, they received a death threat on a UK-based Islamist web site. Irshad then posted an online petition on her site where anyone who cares about intellectual freedom can sign their name and express their solidarity. I know I've linked to it before, but please visit Irshad's site and sign the petition if you haven't already.


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