August 07, 2008

You Still Can't Write About Muhammad

Via WSJ:

Last year Random House signed a $100,000, two-book deal with journalist Sherry Jones for The Jewel of Medina, a racy historical novel about Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. Jones learned Arabic, studied scholarly works about Aisha's life, and came to admire her protagonist as a woman of courage.

In May, Random House abruptly called off publication of the book, fearing it would become a new Satanic Verses, the Salman Rushdie novel of 1988 that led to death threats, riots and the murder of the book's Japanese translator, among other horrors. After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House, said the company decided "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."