The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Keeping Alms for Jihad in US libraries

I have read about the Alms for Jihad affairs in Britain -- and I would fully support the Association of Librarians of America in keeping the book available in the US, regardless of the quality of the book (which I have no idea about).

OIF is hearing from librarians who are wondering if they must comply with a request from British publisher Cambridge University Press to remove the book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World from the shelves of their libraries.

Alms for Jihad is the subject of a British libel lawsuit brought by Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz, who has filed several similar lawsuits to contest claims that the Saudi government has used Islamic charities to fund terrorism. Cambridge University Press chose to settle the suit rather than risk a large damage award at trial. Under the settlement, Cambridge University Press has agreed to pulp unsold copies and to ask libraries to return the book to the publisher or destroy the book. (See "Cambridge U. Press Agrees to Destroy Book on Terrorism in Response to Libel Claim" from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Critics claim that Mahfouz is attempting to silence critics by using British libel law. Unlike U.S. libel law, which recognizes First Amendment freedoms, and requires plaintiffs to prove statements about them are false, British law places the burden of proof on defendants, who must demonstrate the truth of their claims.
Someone should leak an electronic version of the book onto the internet.