April 8, 2006

THE HARTFORD COURANT reports on Borders’ Islamophobia and calls for a Borders boycott:

“If you care about freedom of expression, don’t buy books from Borders or Waldenbooks,” writes conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan on his blog. “And if you want to draw a lesson from the entire episode, it’s obvious: violence against free writers and artists gets results. We have all but invited more.”

Robert Bidinotto, editor of The New Individualist magazine, who wrote an open letter to Borders, was one of the first bloggers to weigh in on the matter. In his letter, Bidinotto said he would refuse to buy from Borders and encourage others to do the same.

After posting it, Bidinotto says his website was flooded by thousands of visitors. He was surprised by how much attention his letter received, but can understand why people feel so deeply about the issue.

“If people are in the idea business and expect First Amendment protections, they have to stand up in defense of those free speech protections,” says Bidinotto, who says his magazine was the first in the country to feature one of the cartoons on its cover. “When a leader in that industry goes south and cuts and runs at the first hint of any kind of a threat, we have reached a very sorry moment in America.”

(Via Virginia Postrel, who writes: “I’d like to know who at corporate headquarters is responsible for the bone-headed decision to take Free Inquiry off the newsstand.”)

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