Sunday, September 28, 2008

Freedom of Speech

A small quiz:

Which of the following do you find most worrying?

1. The foiled firebomb attack this weekend on the home-cum-business premises of Gibson Square publisher Martin Rynja, who in a determined stand for freedom of speech is about to publish Sherry Jones' The Jewel of Medina, a novel about the Prophet Muhammad's relationship with his child bride, and which Jones insists honours the Prophet and his wife.

2. The fact that on being sent the book for a cover quote by a previous publisher, American academic Denise Spellberg, according to Shahed Amanullah, editor of a Muslim website, made a 'frantic call' to him denouncing the book as 'incredibly offensive', which resulted in a furore, with those who had not read the book also denouncing it and issuing 'warnings'.

3. The fact that 2. caused the book's previous publisher, the giant Random House, to withdraw from publication altogether.


Suzanne Morrison said...

Sherry Jones is from my home state of Washington, and the press here in Seattle has devoted a lot of words to the loss of her publishing deal.

Glad to hear a UK publisher is going forward with the book-- but Lord, how demoralizing to hear that it's being greeted with such violence.

Elizabeth Baines said...

Demoralizing, indeed. Thank you for the link.