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The Banned Books of Guantánamo

'Blasphemy' by Alan Dershowtiz

"I was shocked to learn that my book had been censored in Guantánamo."

by Alan Dershowitz
10 November 2014, 10:00am

I was shocked to learn that my book, Blasphemy: How the Religious Right Is Hijacking Our Declaration of Independence, had been censored in Guantánamo. This book is about religion, liberty, freedom and everything good that America is supposed to stand for. It does not incite violence and it certainly does not attack any religion. If the detainees in Guantánamo live by what is advocated in Blasphemy, there would be no need for Guantánamo or the current war against terrorism.

The very existence of Guantánamo poses vexing questions for democracy: how should the United States deal with captured unlawful combatants, some of whom are committed to continuing violent Jihad against our country and its allies? Should they be treated like prisoners of war, despite their status as unlawful combatants? Should they be tried, despite the need to keep some of the evidence against them secret because it comes from undercover sources? Should they simply be released, despite the likelihood that some will commit acts of terrorism? These are difficult questions.

The question of what detainees should be allowed to read while being imprisoned at Guantánamo is not difficult: they should be allowed to read anything they choose, so long as it does not pose a clear and imminent danger. Blasphemy does not even come close to meeting that high threshold for censorship.

Alan Dershowitz is an American lawyer and author. He was, for almost 50 years, a professor at Harvard Law School. His book, Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking our Declaration of Independence, was censored at Guantánamo Bay. Image by Marta Parszeniew