Random House Loses Nerve on Muhammed Novel

Everybody in the West knows by now that Muslims get a bit tetchy when it comes to the Prophet Muhammed.  You can’t draw him, you can’t insult him…you’re even putting your neck out by publishing anything critical of him.  Danish cartoons, anyone?  And while he didn’t directly insult the Prophet, Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding over his novel The Satanic Verses, which included material considered controversial by Islamic fundamentalists.  It’s not surprising that polite society treads lightly when it comes to insecure primitives who threaten – and commit – murder against those who break their irrational taboos.

In the years since 9/11, Western publishers have walked a tightrope when it comes to material critical of Islam.  Christians may protest, but they’re exceedingly unlikely to kill people who insult their most revered figure, Jesus Christ.  Witness the runaway success of The Da Vinci Code, which posits a controversial alternative biography for the Lord and Savior.  But publish one ill-considered doodle, and Muslims will burn down your embassy.

The latest casualty is Sherry Jones’s novel The Jewel of Medina, a historical novel based on the life of A’isha, the child-bride of Muhammed, which was due to be published August 12th.  Random House yanked it at the last minute, obviously due to fear of reprisals from angry Muslims.  You can read a news item about it here [link].

I don’t know how long the link will last, but you can read the Prologue to The Jewel of Medina here [link].  It doesn’t matter whether you think this is legitimate literature or just a racy romance novel intent on exploiting interest in Islamic history – The Jewel of Medina ought to have been published.  The fact that it got within a week of actual release proves that it was a thoroughly vetted work, so if anyone tries to say it was pulled over lack of quality, you’ll know they’re full of crap.

I’ll update this post if new information becomes available.


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