The Islamic world is living in tension after the attack against Salman Rushdie and the wave of protests and violence in Iran. As a consequence of these events, Amazon decided to withdraw the book The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology by Ibn Warraq, which had been on sale since May 2017. The author, who due to his criticism of Islam and the Koran must hide his identity under the pseudonym Ibn Warraq, is a renowned figure for his knowledge of the Islamic world and the Middle East.
This is not the first book from New English Review Press (NER Press) that Amazon has banned from sale. According to editor Rebecca Bynum, the removal of Ibn Warraq's book signals that religious criticism falls below belief itself:
Perhaps, like most tech companies, Amazon hires young and inexperienced people to run their operation. Unfortunately, I believe they have come out of the university system without the ability to reason properly. For just as Biblical exegesis cannot be accused of promoting hatred of Christians, neither can honest criticism of the Islamic holy texts be a cause of hatred. No text, religious or otherwise, should ever be above criticism. Indeed, I was under the impression that the question had been settled after the Inquisition, but apparently not.
Amazon Bans Book by Prominent Koranic Scholar Ibn Warraq https://t.co/TUDP9Fr7LS
- Rebecca Bynum (@rebeccabynum) October 30, 2022
Other books banned by Amazon
Apart from Ibn Warraq's book, Amazon also withdrew Peter McLoughlin's book Easy Meat: Inside Britain's Grooming Gang Scandal from their website, which had been on sale since March 2016. His book chronicles more than 25 years of inaction among police, social services, the justice system and the government after young girls were recruited with adults to work as prostitutes.
Despite Amazon's ban, Bynum added that events such as Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter will ensure freedom of speech:
Our books will continue to be sold elsewhere and I really don’t see the point of Amazon’s removing these older books in our catalog. It is my hope that with Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the extreme censorship to which we have been subjected over the past several years will begin to abate. There is no freedom at all without freedom of thought and the freedom to express those thoughts.
Amazon withdrew other books from sale. A few years ago, it banned Ryan Anderson's When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment and Peter McLoughlin and British activist Tommy Robinson's book titled Mohammed's Koran.