THE QUESTION

A London publishing house was firebombed for agreeing to publish 'The Jewel of Medina', a controversial novel about Muhammad's wife, which Random House dropped earlier this year because it feared terrorist threats. In hindsight, was Random House in the right? Does this justify censorship of this kind in the future?

Posted by Lauren Keane on October 6, 2008 12:44 PM

FROM THE PANEL

David Goodhart is founder and editor of Prospect magazine, the London-based current affairs monthly. Before starting Prospect in 1995 he worked for 12 years for the Financial Times, including a spell as correspondent in Germany. He is the author of several books and pamphlets, the latest for the think tank Demos is titled Progressive nationalism: citizenship and the left.

Publishers Should Not be Cowed

When Random House and other big publishers drop controversial novels, they forget their responsibility to defend our open society.

Posted by David Goodhart Great Britain | 29 COMMENTS
Oct 7, 2008 at 9:34 AM
Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst and historian based in Damascus, Syria. Moubayed is the author of "Damascus Between Democracy and Dictatorship (2000)" and "Steel & Silk: Men and Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000 (2006)." He has also authored a biography of Syria's former President Shukri al-Quwatli and currently serves as Associate Professor at the Faculty of International Relations at al-Kalamoun University in Syria. In 2004, he created Syrianhistory.com, the first and online museum of Syrian history. He is also co-founder and editor-in-chief of FORWARD, the leading English monthly in Syria, and Vice-President of Haykal Media.

Defending Aisha

Sherry Jones was wrong, but it's high time Muslims stopped being obsessed with such trifling matters and focused on the bigger problems we face.

Posted by Sami Moubayed Damascus, Syria | 26 COMMENTS
Oct 6, 2008 at 12:53 PM
Miklós Vámos is a Hungarian novelist, screenwriter and talk show host. He is one of the most read and respected writers in his native Hungary. He has taught at Yale University on a Fulbright fellowship, served as The Nation’s East European correspondent, worked as consultant on the Oscar-winning film Mephisto, and presented Hungary’s most-watched cultural television show. Vámos has received numerous awards for his plays, screenplays, novels and short stories, including the Hungarian Merit Award for lifetime achievement. The Book of Fathers is considered his most accomplished novel and has sold 200,000 copies in Hungary.

The Terror of Publishing

Why do we expect book publishers to be any more courageous than the rest of us?

Posted by Miklos Vamos Budapest, Hungary | 0 COMMENTS
Oct 6, 2008 at 12:52 PM
Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is a member of the executive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies. Dr. Ettefagh speaks Persian (Farsi), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish.

Random House's Solid Business Sense

I fail to see censorship in this matter.

Posted by Ali Ettefagh Tehran, Iran | 2 COMMENTS
Oct 6, 2008 at 12:45 PM
Originally from Pakistan, Anwer Sher is based in Dubai and writes for Gulf News, Khaleej Times and Emirates Today. His varied career experience includes banking, consulting, and real estate development. He has a Masters degree in International Relations.

Free Speech and Blasphemy

It would have been wiser to resort to legal means, if possible, to prevent the publication of the book.

Posted by Anwer Sher Dubai, UAE | 4 COMMENTS
Oct 6, 2008 at 12:42 PM

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.