August 20, 2007
Cambridge UP Seeks to Destroy All Copies of Alms for Jihad to Settle Libel Lawsuit by Saudi Banker
According to published accounts, to avoid litigation over a libel complaint filed in England, Cambridge University Press is destroying all unsold copies of Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World (2006), a book that Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz claims has defamed him. The book suggests that businesses and charities associated with Mr. Mahfouz financed terrorism in Sudan and elsewhere during the 1990s.
The book's authors, Robert O. Collins, a professor emeritus of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and J. Millard Burr, a retired employee of the U.S. State Department, were not personally named in the libel action, and they have refused to endorse the settlement.
Press to Libraries: Remove Copies from Your Collection. Cambridge UP has also asked all libraries that have purchased copies to remove them from shelves. A Cambridge UP representative said he could recall, in his 23 years at Cambridge UP, only one previous incident in which the publisher had asked libraries to remove a book from their shelves.
ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom has gone on the record stating the following:
Unless there is an order from a U.S. court, the British settlement is unenforceable in the United States, and libraries are under no legal obligation to return or destroy the book. Libraries are considered to hold title to the individual copy or copies, and it is the library's property to do with as it pleases. Given the intense interest in the book, and the desire of readers to learn about the controversy first hand, we recommend that U.S. libraries keep the book available for their users.
Hat tip to Media Law Prof Blog. [JH]
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Cambridge UP Seeks to Destroy All Copies of Alms for Jihad to Settle Libel Lawsuit by Saudi Banker: