When an organization organizes an annual banned books week to celebrate "the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular," it is a little disturbing to see the same group cancel a panel discussion because one of the invited speakers is considered objectionable.
But that's how the American Library Association (ALA) handled pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to silence an invited speaker for a panel discussion at its annual convention who has a perspective on Islam, jihad, and terrorism that CAIR doesn't like.
Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer, author of eight books on Islam and jihad, had been scheduled to appear July 12 on an ALA panel entitled "Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping." ALA canceled the panel after the other speakers decided to boycott the panel due to Spencer's participation. But rather than inviting others to replace them, or letting Spencer honor his commitment, the ALA capitulated and gave the critics what they wanted.
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