Fearing Muslim Violence, Random House Withdraws The Jewel of Medina Novel

Posted on August 11, 2008

Author Sherry Jones just had her book contract canceled by Random House. The book was canceled over fears that extremist Muslims would engage in violence over the contents.

The novel is called The Jewel of Medina. The book details the life of the prophet Muhammad's child bride, Aisha. The author says there is no sex in the book, but one Islamic scholar labeled it pornography.

Jones told the Guardian: "It's ridiculous. I must be a heck of a writer to produce a pornographic book without sex scenes. My book is as realistic a portrayal as I could muster of the prophet Muhammad's harem and his domestic life. Of course it has sexuality, but there is no sex." The withdrawal of the novel, reported this week by the Wall Street Journal, triggered intense debate on the web among feminists, young Muslims and academics.

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Random House said yesterday that it had been advised by a number of Islamic scholars and security experts that the novel was offensive to Muslims and that "it could incite acts of violence by a small radical segment". Jones was released from her contract to try to sell the book elsewhere.

This is just the Satanic Verses and the Muhammad cartoons all over again. Frankly, we're surprised that Random House caved in on the book. We can see that the book might not have been published in certain Muslim countries, but to suppress the book in the U.S. seems shocking.


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