National Bookstore Chain Refuses to Carry Magazine Containing Controversial Cartoons


For Immediate Release: March 29, 2006
Contact: Jefferson Seaver, Communications
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

AMHERST, N.Y. (March 29, 2006)—Distributors have notified the editors of

Free Inquiry

, a journal of secular-humanist thought and opinion, that Borders Books & Music has declined to carry the April/May issue of the magazine that contains controversial cartoons portraying the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Borders’ decision not to stock the issue was reportedly based on concerns over potential controversy and possible dangers to their customers.

Editors at

Free Inquiry

consider this highly unfortunate, saying that Borders is perpetrating a disservice to free speech and also to its customers who may be interested in viewing or purchasing the magazine. Paul Kurtz, editor in chief of

Free Inquiry

, declared that "What is at stake is the precious right of freedom of expression. Cartoons often provide an important form of political satire.” Kurtz pointed out that “one cartoon may be worth a 1000 syllogisms. To refuse to distribute a publication because of fear of vigilante violence is to undermine freedom of press– so vital for our democracy."

Few North American media have dared to print the cartoons, which were originally published in Denmark. By reprinting four of the original twelve cartoons,

Free Inquiry

joins a select roster of American media establishments including

The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Sun, The Austin American-Statesman

, and a handful of Web sites.

“No religious teaching, community, or institution should be held immune from criticism simply because of its religious nature,” commented

Free Inquiry

editor Tom Flynn. Accompanying the cartoons is commentary and analysis by Flynn, Islamic scholar Ibn Warraq, and R. Joseph Hoffmann, an expert in biblical studies.

Spokespersons at the magazine say that any interested parties having trouble finding this particular issue on newsstands can order copies by visiting the magazine’s Web site at

www.freeinquiry.net

.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.