A former MP known for his anti-immigrant stance has accused a major book store of censorship for not shelving a controversial book he translated.
Former MP of the Liberal Party Magnús Þór Hafsteinsson recently translated the book Islam. Den 11. landeplage, by Norwegian author Hege Storhaug, into Icelandic. This book – whose title means Islam, the 11th national plague – has sparked considerable criticism for being bigoted. Magnús Þór now accuses bookstores in Iceland of censorship.
Stundin reports that bookstore Mál og menning – one of the two biggest in Iceland – kept the book under the counter and not visible for customers to see. According to the bookstore, the book spreads hate and is therefore not appropriate to put on the shelves.
The back cover of the book reads: “Islam, the 11th national plague, is a book with educational material. In these threatening times, it carries an extremely urgent message for everyone. Do not miss it!”
Furthermore, the book contends that Muslims and asylum seekers threaten the freedom of Western civilization.
“It is absurd to call this book hate speech,” Magnús Þór told reporters. “Where is the freedom of printing if they do not want to sell your book?”
This is not the first time Magnús Þór has stated his opinion on asylum seekers. In 2008, he objected to Akranes welcoming 30 asylum seekers from Palestine. Furthermore, the Liberal Party was often accused of spreading Islamophobia and bigotry during the 2006-7 parliamentary election season.
The Norwegian author Hege Storhaug has caused a lot of commotion in Norway as well, and not only because of this book. She is the head of Human Rights Service, an organisation that has been accused of Islamophobia and racism by Antirasistisk Senter in Norway and by author Sindre Bangstad, who wrote Anders Breivik and the Rise of Islamophobia.
Due to complaints from the publisher, the book has been put onto the least visible shelves of the store.