January 6, 2016
Isis Books & Gifts changes signage, dodges blind wrath of ignorant brick-throwers
by Simon Reichley
Back in November, we wrote about Isis Books & Gifts, a small, independent bookstore in Denver, Colorado that had been the victim of several acts of vandalism. Ignorant and/or confused, several individuals left threatening messages, vandalized the storefront, and destroyed the bookstore’s outdoor sign as a result of a mistaken association with the militant Islamist group, Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, often referred to as ISIS.
When we last visited this story, the owner of Isis Books & Gifts (which, again, is named after the 3,500 year-old goddess of women, “magick” and healing), Karen Charboneau-Harrison rejected the possibility of a name change, suggesting that people begin to refer to the terrorist organization as ISIL (as President Barack Obama) or Daesh (the acronym of the group’s name in Arabic).
And while Charboneau-Harrison has not officially changed the bookstore’s name, the shiny new sign in front of the store no longer bears the word Isis. As reported by Kent Erdahl at Fox News Denver:
More than a month later, the inside of the store hasn’t changed and neither has its name, which honors the Egyptian goddess who represents women, magic and healing, but the new sign outside the store has changed. It now has a painting of Isis, but the name simply says “Goddess Book and Gifts”.
“People are a little bit on edge and there’s no need to play into that and incite any sort of ridiculousness,” Karen said.
Charboneau-Harrison says the ridiculousness of the past year has included threats and several acts of vandalism after apparent confusion with the ISIS terrorists. Though she vows to keep the name of the store intact, she says the decision to change the sign came after hours of careful consideration for the safety of her customers and employees.
“You know, we feel very strongly about the name Isis, but we feel just as strongly that we don’t want to be waving a red flag that would entice ignorant people to act out of their ignorance,” Charboneau-Harrison said.
You can still reach Isis Books and Gift’s online store at isisbooks.com. Wands are available starting at $18.99.
Simon Reichley is assistant to the publishers and office manager at Melville House.