Thursday, May 19, 2005

Woman Finds Hate Message in Koran 

I know, I know, this is old news. Every blogger who can read Arabic, link to Daniel Pipes, or get their own English translation of the Koran has posted some variation on this topic. But it's not the hate message you think.

From Reuters, via Wired (also independently at LA Times):

L.A. woman finds hate message in copy of Koran

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Muslim group on Wednesday demanded a public apology from online bookseller Amazon.com for its part in delivering a used copy of the Koran with the words "Death to all Muslims" scrawled across the inside cover.

Los Angeles graduate student Azza Basarudin, who ordered a used copy of the holy book through Amazon.com from a third-party, said that when she discovered the message "I actually dropped the book."

"I was taken back to after Sept. 11 and my fear of even leaving my apartment," Basarudin told a news conference.
That is a nasty surprise. As a Jew, I can sympathize -- I'm sure if I had a Koran shipped to me and opened it, I would find some variation on the message, "Death to the Jews". No, seriously, she is entitled to this reaction, and Amazon should do something to make it up to her, and to ensure that it won't happen again. So let's see, how should she go about bringing this to Amazon's attention so they can handle it? An email to the customer service department? Perhaps a phone call?

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) said Basarudin brought the matter to them about two weeks ago. The Council contacted Amazon.com who have apologized to Basarudin, refunded her money, sent out a new copy of the Koran and issued her a gift certificate.

Amazon said it had also suspended Pennsylvania-based Bellwether Books, which packaged and mailed the Koran in question, from selling the Koran and had asked for an internal investigation.
Well pardon my skepticism. She went right to a 4-letter interest group, which generally is a sign to me of agenda rather than problem solving. But it all worked out fine. Isn't that great? Amazon apologized. They refunded her money and sent her a new Koran as well, and even gave her a gift certificate to boot. With that kind of haul, I hope the next Dr. Seuss book I order through Amazon has "Death to Star Belly Sneetches" scrawled on the cover. And on top of that, Amazon has brought the hammer down on the distributer responsible for the mistake. I'm always happy to report the stories with a happy ending.

It is a happy ending isn't it?

But the MPAC said it wanted Amazon to issue a public apology and condemnation and establish a zero-tolerance policy toward sellers and employees.
Oh. Amazon did apologize, and their actions have been exceptionally responsive. But MPAC needs this thing called a zero-tolerance policy. Hmmm, what would that be? Would that be like Arab states' policies toward decapitation of Westerners -- almost as bad as writing death threats in a book, except the victim isn't scared, since he's dead. Or maybe the zero-tolerance of stabbing renegade film-makers to death -- that one is actually working, since after Theo Van Gogh's death, he hasn't been stabbed again at all.

I'd like Amazon to take MPAC up on the offer. A fair trade, zero-tolerance for zero-tolerance. When the head chopping and bus bombings stop, we'll know they mean it. Or if MPAC and its fellow travellers would simply condemn these acts, consistently and without excuse, that would be good too. Note how no one at Amazon says, "Sorry. But... you have to understand the book-packing employee's rage at customer arrogance."

"It is important for business leaders to come out with a zero tolerance policy. Amazon has a responsibility to make a public apology and condemnation," said spokeswoman Edina Lekovic.

Lekovic said the desecrated Koran was part of a "cult of hate that may exist and may be on the rise."
Yeah, that Koran is a part of a "cult of hate that may exist" and be "on the rise". The cult just might not be the one she's thinking of.
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