Friday, May 22, 2009

British publisher scraps Christian encyclopedia for "negative" portrayal of Islam

The saga of the multi-volume “Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization”, which scheduled publication was cancelled after a two-year intensive literary efforts, is pushing “political correctness” to the realm of absurdity. Briefly, as recounted by MercatorNet (, the eminent English academic publishing house, Wiley-Blackwell, in March 2006 commissioned George Thomas Kurian, an experienced encyclopedist of high repute, to produce a multi-volume "Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization." Two years later with the toil of almost 400 contributors, the task was successfully accomplished. Rave reviews were coming in and the publishers prepared for the grand launching.

The story however developed a “k-leg” when a group of four members (out of several editors, not to talk of the aforementioned 400 contributors) of the encyclopeadia editorial board came up with a litany of complaints, claiming that the encyclopedia’s introduction portrayed Islam in a bad light. According to Mercatornet, they ‘demanded Kurian modify his introduction "to remove the offence thrust at Islam and other religions and to moderate the tone of confrontation and polemic."’ Encouraged by the shivers demonstrated by Wiley-Blackwell top notches, the aggrieved Islamists later came up with more demands, effectively denuding the supposed Christian encyclopedia of its Christian content. Entries such as "Antichrist," "Virgin Birth," "Resurrection" and "Uniqueness of Christ and Christianity" were requested for removal.

The long and short is that Wiley-Blackwell not only halted the production of the very well-received encyclopedia, it even made some attempt to claw back already distributed copies with a view to pulping them! Just because some Islamists were offended by the reality of “Christian Civilization” compiled into an encyclopedia.

Sociologist Alvin Schmidt, author of about 70 articles in the encyclopedia, says he has never before in his academic life "run into this kind of politically correct nonsense."

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