Monday, August 11, 2008

Perpetuating Publishing Phobia

Even as our American military is on foreign soil fighting for the spread of our human rights around the globe, right here in our own country a major publishing house has been cowed by alleged threats of violence.

Siting threats and a fear of "inciting acts of violence" Random House has indefinitely postponed the August 12 publishing date of The Jewel of Medina, the first novel of journalist Sherry Jones. The eight city publicity tour has likewise been cancelled.

Deputy Publisher Thomas Perry issued the following statement: "The company received cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment. In this instance we decided, after much deliberation, to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."

And, Reuters reports that Jones is free to sell her sequel as well as the first book to other publishers. The author has never visited the Middle East but spent several years studying Arab history. This novel brought her research together.

The Jewel of Medina is a novel about Mohammed's child bride, A'isha. It traces the life of A'isha from her engagement to Mohammed, at the age of 6, up until Mohammed's death. "I have deliberately and consciously written respectfully about Islam and Mohammed... I envisioned that my book would be a bridge-builder."

Written up in the American Thinker, the story is Random House envisioned a replay of the Salmon Rushdie days. Allegedly a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Texas, Denise Spellberg, was asked to write a blurb for the book but she hated it. "She regarded it as an ugly, stupid piece of work -- one that made fun of Muslims and their history." She claimed the book could be construed as a "declaration of war...a national security issue".

The article by David Paulin gives a little background on Ms. Spellberg. She has a PhD from Islamic Studies from Columbia University. A recent publication of hers is "Inventing Matamoras: Gender and the Forgotten Islamic Past in the United States of America." She wrote the book Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of A'isha Bint Abi Bakr and Sherry Jones states that book was one of the first she read while researching A'isha for her novel. Now, however, Jones is determined to pursue other publishers and hopes to reclaim the eight month jump she had over the publication of another book on A'isha.

Real threats or not, Islamic Fascists are once again humored. Funny how these who threaten in the name of their devotion to Allah are accepted and catered to yet when other religions put out controversial books or films, and the only criticism launched is to the actual religious viewers or readers. Those that commit violence in the name of religion are not religious people. They are terrorists.

In this country we are entitled to the basic right of free speech. We are entitled to freely worship. This novel, from what I have read, is a novel based on historical reference and the love story as it was within context to the spread of the religion of Islam. It tells the story of a woman who was influential in the spread of the religion.

Random House and any others in our country would do well to see what the appeasement to radical Islamic groups has done to Europe. It's not pretty.

Time to nip this behavior in the bud.


AI said...

One need not be surprised at how we cater for and bend to the will and threats of the Muslim lot.
As a Christian (Roman Catholic) I often find myself disagreeing with some fictional portrayals think, “Last temptation of Christ” and “The Da Vinci Code” but like many others like me, we do not react violently or threaten the safety of others.
The reaction of Muslims to The Jewel of Medina is intriguing, the Prophet Muhammad was simply a mortal man who could experience the same forms of emotion and myself or the next guy. What is wrong with depicting such in the arts?
In any event, it was written with much sensitivity. Excerpt, in relation to the taking of A’isha’s by Muhammad: "the pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting…”
So much for free speech!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

People's welfare should always be factored in as a concern. Putting one's own life at risk by defying those with an anger management problem is one thing; risking the lives of one's employees and others is another consideration to take into account.

In general, I agree that fear of violent reprisal and terrorism should not dictate a path of appeasement. Otherwise, you only end up sending the message that "terrorism and threats of violence work.", and you also give up the principles of freedom that our country thrives on, and is a symbol of.

Karen said...

Was it published in Australia?

Actual threats haven't been proven. I agree, in today's world everyone must be on guard about personal safety, even though there are those who don't believe threats and risks exist. This, however, don't appear to pass the smell test.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Whale, the bud nipping is skipping along. Next up - Hollywood or docu street cred in vids. Fatwah's could be earned and worn as a badge of honor - kinda like a new millennium black list.

The pendulem swings both ways - essentially like AI pointed out - if Xianity can survive disses and hits than surely Mohammedism can take a few.

Kinda goes back to the eternal guiding quiz Strauss was so crunk with:

"Which one of these is not like the other?"

Karen said...


Janie said...

Karen...once again, thanks for posting stuff I'd normally not hear of...this makes me mad!

Z said...

What makes me curious is that Random House is saying they're just putting off publication..till WHAT, we've found the last remaining terror cell in America so nobody can kill the author?

This is DISGUSTING...WE are the only ones losing Free Speech in our own country.