Library Journal: ALA Conference 2009: Organization Behind Islam Panel Issues Statement

Myra Appel, chair of the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Roundtable (EMIERT), has released a public statement (below) regarding the recent cancellation of the ALA panel “Perspectives on Islam.”

Neither Appel’s statement nor the earlier response from ALA President Jim Rettig address theChicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR-Chicago) claim that none of the panelists were informed of Spencer’s participation. But on his Jihad Watch web site, the man at the heart of this controversy, Robert Spencer, contests CAIR’s claim, publishing as evidence a month-old email from Appel informing the panelists of his involvement.

Statement from Myra Appel, Chair, EMIERT: The Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Roundtable (EMIERT) invited a panel of four speakers to present differing viewpoints on “Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping.” On behalf of EMIERT I regret to inform you that our panel discussion will not be held Sunday, July 12th. With the withdrawal of three of the four panelists we cannot provide a fair and equitable forum to explore the diversity of opinions that the panel would have offered.

EMIERT will continue to develop and sponsor programs and publications that adhere to our core mission to 1) serve as a source of information on recommended ethnic collections, services, and programs; 2) organize task forces, institutes, and workshops; and 3) develop forums and programs that deal with key issues of ethnicity and librarianship.

We believe that the panel on “Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping” and other like sessions are important to the profession, and we invite members of the ALA to join with us in future discussions as we continue to explore the many issues related to cultural diversity and multiculturalism.

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