Last July a Saudi Sheikh brought a libel suit to a British Court, because a book written by Americans (Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, by J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins). The book proved that the Saudi Sheikh was funding Terrorism. The book’s British Publisher, Cambridge University Press, settled the suit by apologizing and recalling all copies of the book. And even sent out letters asking libraries across the world to destroy the book. Thankfully American libraries told Cambridge to shove it–and rushed out to buy more copies of the book before it was gone forever.
The Sheikh Bin Mahfouz has an interesting history. He was was a non-executive director of Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a huge financial conglomerate later convicted of money laundering, bribery, support of terrorism, arms trafficking, and many other crimes. Mahfouz personally owned a 20% stake in BCCI. He was indicted by a New York state grand jury for fraud but denied any culpability. The fraud charges were dropped after Mahfouz agreed to pay $225 million in lieu of fines.(Vardi, Nathan. “Sins of the Father?“, The World’s Billionaires, Forbes, 2002-03-18)
According to Craig Unger in his book House of Bush, House of Saud bin Mahfouz donated over $270,000 to Osama bin Laden’s Islamist organization at the request of Osama’s brother Salem bin Laden. Bin Mahfouz’s lawyer stated: “This donation was to assist the US-sponsored resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and was never intended nor, to the best of Sheikh Khalid’s knowledge, ever used to fund any ‘extension’ of that resistance movement in other countries.”Khalid bin Mahfouz has denied that NCB, his bank, was involved in funding an al-Qaeda group. According to reports, high-placed Saudi businessmen transferred millions of dollars through NCB to charities operating as fronts for al-Qaeda. Mahfouz states that he could not have been aware of every wire transfer moving through the bank, and that he would not have allowed such transactions had he known they were taking place. There is no evidence that Mahfouz was personally involved in any of these transactions. Khalid bin Mahfouz helped set up a charity organization called the Muwafaq Foundation, Muwafaq being Arabic for “blessed relief”. He funded this charity with $30 million, and put his eldest son, Abdulrahman bin Mahfouz, on the board of directors. In October of 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department named Muwafaq an al-Qaeda front organization. Neither Khalid nor Abdulrahman were accused of funding terrorism by the United States; however Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi national hired to run the charity, was named a supporter of terrorism by and had his assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department.Yet with all this going on around bin Mahfouz, Cambridge University Press folded its tent at the first sign of controversy. It is precisely this kind of cowardice that one day may have us all wearing burkas and speaking Arabic.
Alms for Jihad
By Robert L. Houbeck, Jr.
 Corsellis, John, and Marcus Ferrar. Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival After World War II. (London: I.B.Tauris Publishers, 2005), p.188. See also Mitchell, Ian. The Cost of a Reputation: Aldington versus Tolstoy: The Causes, Course and Consequences of the Notorious Libel Case. (London: Canongate, 1997); and Rayment, Tim. “The Massacre and the Ministers.” The Sunday Times (London) April 7, 1996. http://www.serendipity.li/hr/mm.htm  Twenty libraries in New Zealand own The Minister and the Massacres, just 17 in the U.K. For library holding statistics, search titles at: http://www.worldcat.org/ .  For a summary of the controversy, with links to related articles, see Stillwell, Cinnamon. “Libel Tourism: Where Terrorism and Censorship Meet,” http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/08/29/cstillwell.DTL . For Mr. Bin Mahfouz’s views, see his website: http://www.binmahfouz.info/ . For background by one of the book’s authors, see Robert O. Collins, “The Saudi Billionaire vs. Cambridge University Press.” http://hnn.us/articles/42436.html . See also Rachel Donadio, “Libel Without Borders.” New York Times, Sunday Book Review, 7 October 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/books/review/Donadio-t.html?_r=2&ref=books&oref=slogin&oref=slogin .  http://www.kendallfreeman.com/news/sheikh+khalid+bin+mahfouz+receives+comprehensive+apology.asp  Author’s copy of Cambridge letter.  A record of the print copy of the book even disappeared from the online edition of Books in Print.  On August 2, University of Richmond library director, Jim Rettig, reported that the OCLC database indicated approximately 325 institutions worldwide held at least one copy of the book. http://keillor.richmond.edu/blojsom/blog/jrettig/intellectual+freedom/?permalink=Cleanse-libraries-of-books-containing-errors-of-fact.htmlhttp://worldcat.org . . By early October, the number had increased to 337. Nearly 300 of those libraries, mostly academic collections, were in the U.S. Only four U.K. libraries reported holding the book. Readers can search the OCLC database at:  “Can They Do That?” 8/14/07, http://blogs.ala.org/oif.php?cat-194 .  See Stillwell and Collins pieces.  Duncan Currie, “The Libel Tourist Strikes Again: How to Kill a Book You Don’t Like.” Weekly Standard, v.12, no.46, 20 August 2007, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=13987&R=1149BF4  Stillwell reports that a copy sold on eBay for $538. Booksellers have offered Collins $500 for a copy, presumably to sell them for considerably more. See Albanese, Andrew, and Jennifer Pinkowski. “ALA to Libraries: Keep Alms for Jihad, Pulped in UK”, Library Journal, 8/23/2007. http://www.libraryjournal.com/index.asp?layout=articlePrint&articleID=CA6471402 .  Kevin Taylor, “Why CUP acted responsibly.” The Bookseller, 8 August 2007. http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/43397-page.html .  See “Middle East and North Africa” section at http://www.cambridge.org/about/world.htm , where the Press notes that it is pursuing “a strategic Joint Venture with the Obeikan Group of Saudi Arabia which focuses on publishing for schools in the Gulf area.” Cambridge has offices in Cairo, Dubai, and Riyadh. An article by Katherine Rushton, Information World Review, 28 September 2006, adds that Cambridge “is targeting swift expansion in other Arab territories.” http://www.infomaticsonline.co.uk/articles/print/2165276 .  http://www.cambridge.org/about/  On this point see comments by Emory University professor, Deborah Lipstadt, in Gary Shapiro, “Libel Suit Leads to Destruction of Books.” New York Sun, 2 August 2007, http://www.nysun.com/article/59706.  Of 6,364 reports by librarians of challenges to books, as submitted to the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom from 1990-2000, 71% occurred in schools and school libraries, 24% in public libraries. Less than 1% occurred in college or university settings (during 2000-2005, about 2.4% of reported formal challenges occurred in higher education settings). If ALA received any reports of publisher-initiated challenges, there were not enough to warrant an “initiator” category. See http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/challengedbanned/challengedbanned.htm#backgroundinformation . See especially the “challenges by institution” and “challenges by initiator” reports.  Motoko Rich and Dinitia Smith, “Publisher Decides to Recall Novel by Harvard Student.” New York Times, 28 April 2006, p.A16.  See chapter 2, “The Noble Lie: ‘Arming America’ and the Right to Bear Arms”, in Ron Robin, Scandals & Scoundrels: Seven Cases that Shook the Academy.” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), pp.57-84.  McDowell, Edwin. “Publisher to Withdraw a Book on Pope’s Life.” New York Times, 30 July 1984, p.C19.  See articles by Hwang Woo-Suk et al., in the 12 March 2004 and 17 June 2005 issues of Science. The database in which I found the articles was ProQuest, http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=22&did=592965751&SrchMode=3&sid=1&Fmt=4&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1189800130&clientId=16043&aid=2http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/311/5759/335b . For a discussion of the problem of labeling retracted or suspect articles in the medical literature, see Harold C. Sox and Drummond Rennie, “Research Misconduct, Retraction, and Cleansing the Medical Literature: Lessons from the Poehlman Case.” Annals of Internal Medicine 144:8 (18 April 2006) http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/0000605-200604180-00123v1 . . For the magazine’s formal retraction, see  A characteristically pungent phrase of the formidable Elizabeth Anscombe, late of Cambridge University, in Ethics, Religion and Politics. The Collected Philosophical Papers of G. E. M. Anscombe, v.3. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), p.60.  See http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/02/1217censorship.html for recollections of University of Illinois librarians about the razor blade. Nor is Beria mentioned on any page of the 31 volumes of the English translation of the encyclopedia’s third edition.  See Collins http://hnn.us/articles/42436.html .  Donadio.