Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"The Jewel of Medina", Sherry Jones, Random House, and Censorship in the name of safety

Here's something about an act of intimidation, censorship, political correctness, and whichever fourth horse of the apocalypse you want to add. I worked in the Literary Retail industry (which puts a premium on Free Speech) for quite a while, and this kind of thing makes me sick.

US publishers cancel book on Prophet Mohammed's wife
NEW YORK (AFP) — A US publisher has cancelled the publication of a novel about the youngest wife of the Muslim prophet Mohammed amid a growing controversy over the book.
"The Jewel of Medina," a debut novel by journalist Sherry Jones about Mohammed's child bride A'isha had been due for release in the United States last week.

Random House is the publisher that now puts out "The Satanic Verses" by Sir Salman Rushdie. I wonder how long they're going to keep that one in print.

But publisher Random House released her from the contract amid the controversy and her agent said Jones is now looking for a publisher in another country to pick up the rights.
"Random House made the decision to cancel its US publication of the novel 'The Jewel of Medina' after much deliberation and with great reluctance," a statement from the publisher sent to AFP said.

This is what the whimper of whipped dogs sounds like. Listen closely. You'll be hearing more of it during the next decade.

"The decision was based on advice from scholars of Islam, among several creditable sources, that publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community and could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."

Mark Steyn's book "America Alone" was widely ridiculed for predicting this type of organized sensitivity. Then Steyn's book was banned in Canada. By Canadians who sit on "Human Rights Commissions" and believe that if the head of someone's religion marries a 12-year old, the delicate sensitivity of the adherents of that religion trump the free speech/free press rights of everyone else.
(I'm not talking about Mormon fundamentalist Rulon Jeffs and his 12-year old fiance, either.)

Reports said Monday that a Serbian distributor, BeoBooks, had ordered bookshops to remove from bookshelves some 1,000 printed copies of a local edition of the novel under pressure from Islamic leaders.

And let us go and do likewise. We should ask ourselves more often...."What would the Serbs do in this situation?"

Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, one of Serbia's main Islamic leaders, had compared the book with the controversial Danish cartoons that sparked Muslim outrage and violent protests when published in 2005.
"This is a work that absolutely stopped at nothing in order to desecrate something that all Muslims hold sacred," Zukorlic said in a report by the Serbian broadcaster B92.

The controversial Danish cartoons weren't controversial. A small group of Sand Preachers tried to make them controversial. At first they failed. They tried again. They failed. Then they had someone draw a cartoon of Mohammed with the body of a pig, which turned out to be an AP photograph of a French pig-squealing contest, and added it to their collection of offensive material. Then, and only then, did they succeed in creating "controversy".
Random House added that it stood "firmly by our responsibility to support our authors and the free discussion of ideas, even those that may be construed as offensive by some.
"However, we must weigh that responsibility against others that it also bears, and in this instance we decided not to go forward with this publication out of concerns for the author, employees of Random House, booksellers, and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."

Disregard the fact that those two sentences are total contradictions of each other. Disregard the weasel phrase "those that MAY be construed as offensive to SOME". Go ahead and say what you're afraid of. Say it. Say it. Awww....Never mind.

This is the whimper of whipped dogs.

Jones, writing in the PostGlobal blog moderated by Newsweek magazine and the Washingtonpost.com, said she had been stunned when Random House told her a university professor had warned the company of possible reprisals if the book were published.

A university professor warned them? A representative from our last bastion of free speech, diverse opinions, respect for the views of others, and tolerance of the "other"? Say it ain't so.

She added that she had expected to stir some controversy as her novel was about "women's empowerment, never a popular theme among fundamentalists of any faith."
But Jones wrote: "Given the respect with which I treat the Muslim prophet, however, I never expected to be killed because of it. I still don't."

Well, they sure killed your book.
Thanks to here and here for the pictures.

6 comments:

Nick M said...

Well, it's this simple. Aisha was betrothed to Mohammed (then about 50) at the age of 6 and deflowered by him at 9.

This is appalling. And it is not something Islamists can wiggle out of because Aisha (Muhammed's favourite wife) is a key figure in Islam.

They have attempted but the usual "It was different back then" is refuted because the Hadith regarding the "consumation" of the marriage makes it clear she was acting like a kid until the "messenger" was "ready for her" the horny old goat.

So, no it wasn't different back then. Screwing a nine year old kid was and is peadophilia.

The other tack is of course the "but Muhammed was special" schtick. I agree, yes he was "special". They build "wspecial hospitals" for his speciality.

Leaving aside the horror of what Aisha was subjected to what adult male is into kids? You know kids? Girls with no pubic hair, who haven't menstruated yet?

Someone who is utterly inadequate is my answer.

So yeah, let's follow him. He was afterall (as he told us) the supreme example of humanity.

There is a potential scandal about Jesus. Now I don't believe all that Da Vinci Code nonesense but the worst it makes out is "Bloke in thirties had a girlfriend of a similar age". Well, why not? If true then does it make me think the less of Christ? Hardly.

I mean it wasn't like he screwed nine-year old girls now was it? And not only is it almost certain Muhammed did but Aisha is so important to the Hadith that...

...Well guess what the female age of consent is in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Have a go. It's at the top end of single digits.

It's their dirty little semi-secret. It is something they believe but don't put out about. Like so much in Islam it is quasi-hidden. Because believing in Islam is double-think. It is a religion of peace as long as you submit. Women are raped not because some men are nasty bastards but because they're not suitably hijabed.

Or in short, it is a religion with viciously strict sexual morality founded by a man who fucked kids.

But of course we can't speak of that.

Jay@Soob said...

This would be comical if it wasn't so completely asinine. Regarding Islam, certain media seem to have encapsulated themselves in a self induced Inquisition. Sad.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

I'm unfamiliar with the story, but if that's what happened, it's good that he didn't live in a compound in Texas... CPS would've taken her away.
....

Somehow I can't help but think that behind all this censorship is Cat Stevens.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Based on nothing more than link-surfing in the blogosphere, members of the British commonwealth seem to be more aware of Nick M's story than their American counterparts.

Any idea why? Could it be the British more or less subsidize their Muslim citizens are a separate community?

Anonymous said...

An end to IslamoCannibals, Hippocrats and Christians¡

Nick M said...

Allen,
We have more Muslims than you. We are more aware. Also our Muslims are (generally) more Muslim than yours. Until a year ago I lived in South Manchester and they were sticking up rather professional looking flyers celebrating the "Magnificent 19" (the 9/11 scum). I first saw that in a phone-box and I was the only Brit* within sight and at that point I just knew (it hit me like a sucker-punch to the guts) that this was no longer my country. A mile from the epicentre of Manchester. Fuck.

*Regardless of their technical citizenship way too many UK Muslims don't even vaguely think of themselves as British.