Thursday, October 19, 2006

More from Down Under

In a previous post Fahrenheit 451: Banned Books: A Strange Protest? you heard about a number of Melbourne University student who had staged a book burning as a protest to the banning of two books from the country.

An article by Christopher Bantick in the Courier-Mail is critical of how the Federal Government has restricted what people can read. The University of Melbourne library was forced to remove the books after they were reclassified otherwise they would have been breaking the law and would run the risk of being prosecuted.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock defends the government's actions, stating,
The Government is keen to ensure that inflammatory material is not used to encourage the naive and impressionable to engage in acts of terrorism.

According to Bantick,
It is hard to imagine a more blatant attack on freedom of speech. Even so, the ban shows something more. This is the Government's fear of opinions contrary to its own narrow social conservatism.

He goes on to challenge the idea that the government has the public good in mind and reminds his readers that Ray Bradbury, in Fahrenheit 451, has forseen the consequence of allowing a government to decide what is good for society. "Because you don't have to burn books, do you, if the world starts to fill up with non-readers, non-learners and non-knowers?"

The vice-chancellor of the University pointed out that by banning the books, the Australian government was limiting the legitimate research of staff and students.

The Council of Australian University Librarians, Australian Library and Information Association, Australian Society of Authors and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, in a joint statement on September 25, noted pithily: "Banning books takes away not only our right to read the opinions of others but also our right to disagree with what they say. We can't refute what we can't read."

While Australians may not be able to obtain a paper copy of these books, ironically they are available online for would-be terrorists.

Defense of Muslim Lands
Join the Caravan

Biography of Abdullah Yusuf Azzam

What would your reaction be to a similar banning in Canada? I'm not sure that anything except pornography is actually banned in Canada besides anything that has been deemed "hate" literature. Are you fearful of would-be terrorists making use of these books in Canada? Since Adbullah Yusuf Azzam was an advisor to Osama Bin Laden, it is likely that the terrorist have already read his writings and we would do well to understand what terrorism is about from this leader's point of view.

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