Evanston Public Library books related to Quran defaced

Nora Shelly, City Editor

Seven Evanston Public Library books about Islam and the Quran were found defaced with “racist language and imagery” as well as graffiti, library officials said in a statement Tuesday.

EPL officials said the books were being looked at on Monday to prepare for an event about the Quran with Northwestern’s Middle East and North African Studies program. The incident is “troubling,” the statement said.

“Free speech is one thing; defacing sacred texts and books about religion is quite another,” the statement read. “Those who are caught defacing library materials will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

An eighth book by conservative pundit Glenn Beck was also found defaced, Evanston police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan said.

Dugan said the book by Glenn Beck was last checked out in June, while the other seven had not been checked out since 2014 and 2015. An evidence technician was called in to help narrow down the timeframe for the incident, Dugan said. Currently, EPD believes the incident occurred between June of this year and Monday.

In the statement, EPL emphasized the library was a welcoming place for all.

“The Evanston Public Library has a proven track record of fostering dialogue,” the statement read. “One effective way to combat fear, hate and ignorance is to provide access to information, informed discourse, debate, and opportunities to listen to others.”

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