In another gesture of grovelling to superstitious natives, Britain’s Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is advising libraries to treat the Mussulman’s Al-koran as a sacred object entitled to physical deference. The Koran must be placed above other books on the topmost shelf.
Doubtless anticipating some negative comment, the MLA’s wise men took care to advocate equality of treatment for the holy books of other religions, too. So the Christian Bible is to be placed on an out-of-reach top shelf, too, right beside the dictates of Mahound. “Blessed too is Diana of the Ephesians.”
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 “commonplace things”.
Now officials at one library have recommended keeping all holy books, including the Bible, on the top shelves.
The move has come despite concern from Christian charities that this will put the Bible out of the reach and sight of many people.
Guidance published by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, a quango answering to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, brought the situation to light.
It said 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.
A report into the issue said 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.
The right European approach to the Koran may be seen in the Flemish Baroque church pulpit below.
Mattheus van Beveren, Mohammed, leaning on his Koran, Trodden upon by Angels Bearing the Pulpit, Liebefraukirke, Dendermonde, Flanders, late 17th century