Bible, other religious texts moved to library top shelf in UK over inequality fears

February 19th, 2009 - 3:16 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb.19 (ANI): Library officials in Britains Leicester city have been told to keep all holy books, including the Bible, on the top shelves in the interests of racial and religious equality.
The advisory has been issued to appease religious concerns in the Islamic community, reports The Telegraph. Muslims have complained that the Koran is often displayed on the lower shelves, which is deemed offensive, as many believe the holy book should be placed above “common place things”.
It has caused concern from Christian charities that this will put the Bible out of the reach and sight of many people.
The situation was brought to light in guidance published by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, a quango answering to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, on how to handle controversial materials.
It said some Muslims in Leicester had moved copies of the Koran to the top shelves of libraries, because they believe it is an insult to display it in a low position.
The city’’s librarians consulted the Federation of Muslim Organisations and were advised that all religious texts should be kept on the top shelf to ensure equality.
A short case study on the situation has been written into the appendix of the guidance, available on the MLA website. Some critics have expressed concern that the books will now just be treated as objects to revere rather than books to read.
Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank told The Daily Mail: “Libraries and museums are not places of worship. They should not be run in accordance with particular religious beliefs. This is violating the principles of librarianship and it is part of an insidious trend.
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: “It is disappointing if the policy of libraries is dictated by the practices of one group. It is particularly disappointing if this is done to put the scriptures beyond reach. I hope there will be a rethink.
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Engage think tank, which encourages Muslims to play a greater role in public life, said that there should not be a “one size fits all” rule.
An MLA spokesman said there were no rules to say other libraries must follow suit with Leicester. (ANI)

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