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.