The Los Angeles Unified School District has removed nearly 300 books from its library shelves that it deems offensive.

In December, copies of The Meaning of the Holy Quran were donated to the school district by a local Muslim foundation.  This particular version of the Koran, published in 1934, contains footnote passages that label Jews “arrogant,” “illiterate” and “men without faith.”  After a history teacher complained, the books were pulled from library shelves.  A committee of history teachers, Jewish leaders and officials from the donating foundation will now review the books.

Catholic League president William Donohue has offered to help resolve the controversy.  Here is what he said today:

“I have written to Roy Romer, the superintendent of schools, and to the eight members of the school board, offering the services of the Catholic League.  What I would like to do is threefold: a) conduct a training seminar on the meaning of the First Amendment for all area faculty and administrators b) provide an historical overview of the consequences of state-sponsored censorship in Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China and c) allow a Catholic League staff member to examine their library holdings for anti-Catholic books; we would then ask that these books remain on the shelves as testimony to tolerance.

“The American Civil Liberties Union defends books that show how to make an A-bomb.  People for the American Way defends books that are patently obscene.  The American Library Association defends hard-core pornography on the Internet and even opposes the use of filters that keep  little children from being exposed to it.  But not one of them has objected to the book banning going on in Los Angeles.  That’s why the Catholic League’s offer is so irresistible.”

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