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Censoring "The Jewel Of Medina"

This month the U.S. publisher Random House planned to launch an historical novel about Aisha, the wife of the prophet Muhammad. The book was a rarity in Islamic-themed literature: an attempt by a Western woman to fictionalize the personal life of the prophet, and to bring to a wider audience one of the great feminist heroines of the Middle East.

Instead, three months ago, Random House decided to abandon publication of "The Jewel of Medina", by journalist Sherry Jones. Fearing the book might incite the same violent reaction as the Danish Muhammad cartoons, and that company staff and property might comes under attack from Muslim extremists, Random House terminated Jones' contract, as reported by Asra Nomani, who first broke the story in the Wall Street Journal last week.

Random House was particularly concerned about a scene in which the Prophet Muhammad consummates his relationship with Aisha, a child bride. It's a short scene, and not to everyone's taste, in which Muhammad's embrace is likened to a "scorpion's sting", but it hardly amounts to "soft core pornography", as the university professor who first raised objections to the book, Denise Spellberg, has described it.

(Read Spellberg's take on the controversy here.)

But Random House's decision to bow down to a hypothetical terrorist threat is surely a grave insult to the Western tradition of free speech, and to Muslims' ability to take the book for what it is: a decidedly glowing portrayal of the Prophet (in marked contrast to the Muhammad Cartoons, or indeed Satanic Verses).

Here, Jones gives an eloquent defense of her book, and explains why we should all take note of Random House's assault on our freedoms.

By Sherry Jones

" 'I can't' never does anything," my mother used to say. " 'I can' does it all."

When I set out to write a book about A'isha bint Abi Bakr, favorite wife of the Prophet Muhammad, I never doubted that it would be published. After all, I had all the elements I needed for a terrific work of historical fiction: a remarkable heroine, little known in the West; a famous hero, widely misunderstood here; a setting unfamiliar yet exotic; and an exciting tale of love, war, spiritual awakening and redemption.

Five years and seven drafts later, I had indeed landed a publisher for "The Jewel of Medina." Not just any publisher, either, but Random House, the biggest house in the world. I was thrilled not only by the two-book deal, which included a sequel detailing A'isha's life after Muhammad's death, but also by the passion with which everyone at the publishing company seemed to embrace this novel. I was thrilled, but not surprised.

Soon, the foreign rights sales started coming in: Spain, Italy, Hungary. I still wasn't surprised. My agent called to tell me of an eight-city U.S. book tour -- gratifying, but not surprising. Book of the Month Club signed on to feature "The Jewel of Medina" in its August 2008 issue, and Quality Paperback Book Club would follow up six months later. My book seemed destined for the best-seller list.

Then, a university professor, asked for an endorsement, called Random House with warnings of a terrorist attack by angry Muslims if my book were published. "A national security issue," University of Texas associate professor Denise Spellberg reportedly said. "More dangerous than the Satanic Verses or the Danish cartoons."

Now this surprised me -- stunned me, in fact. The follow-up letter from her lawyer provided the second hit in Ms. Spellberg's one-two punch, threatening to sue Random House if her name were associated with my book in any way, including, I assume, a listing in my bibliography. Her reason had me reeling: She objected, she said, to the book's "sexual content," of which there is almost none.

Several weeks later, Random House associate publisher Elizabeth McGuire delivered the final blow. After consulting with other academic "experts" in Islam as well as the company's head of security, Random House executives had decided to "indefinitely postpone" publication. Not because of terrorist threats, mind you -- but because of threats of terrorist threats. Because, in other words, of fear.

I was, of course, devastated by this news, coming as it did less than three months before my Aug. 12 publication date. I was also chagrined to realize the far-reaching ramifications of this historic decision to quash a work of art before it could even reach the public eye. Is Random House no longer publishing books about Islam? How does this bode for the future of publishing? What will be banned next? Art? Music? Theater? Dance?

As a journalist for the last 28 years, I hold the right to free speech especially dear. The First Amendment is, in my view, the very best thing about living in the United States. Publishing houses can, of course, do whatever they want. But university professors? Ms. Spellberg urged Random House to abstain from publishing. The reason, she is telling reporters now, is that she doesn't like my book. Does this development mean our public universities no longer support the free exchange of ideas?

I'm optimistic, but not naive. I expected my book to spark controversy. "The Jewel of Medina" is a novel of women's empowerment, never a popular theme among fundamentalists of any faith. I was also aware that some would take offense at any fictional portrayal of Muhammad, especially one by a non-Muslim American woman. Given the respect with which I treat the Muslim prophet, however, I never expected to be killed because of it. I still don't.

As an advocate for peace, I have high hopes for "The Jewel of Medina" and its sequel, in which A'isha and her rival, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, are dual protagonists facing off in the first Islamic civil war. Already I've had many requests for interviews with Muslim journalists and have been invited to participate in a 90-minute chat on IslamOnline.org, a Muslim website which boasts of 13 million hits weekly.

This type of dialogue is long overdue. So far, discussion has centered around my not-published book, which almost no one has read. Soon, I hope, we will address the text itself, in published form, and my ideas, derived from research and experience, of moderate Islam as a religion of egalitaranism and, yes, peace.

In the meantime, using A'isha as my example, I challenge all to do as I am striving to do: Rise up against the culture of fear that pervades our society, refuse to succumb to racism, stand up for our rights, and live courageous lives.

Journalist Sherry Jones is a correspondent for BNA, an international news agency in the Washington, D.C. area, and for Women's eNews in New York. "The Jewel of Medina" is her first novel.

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Comments (219)

RSL:

It really doesn't matter how bad the book is or is not--there are a lot of bad books. What does matter is how intimated we are by the threat of terrorism.

Muslims who are really concerned about the reputation of Islam really need to be concerned about those among you whose only answer to a large number of problems is: THREATEN, TERORIZE and KILL.

Muslims and non Muslims alike are losing freedom.

Lee Zehrer:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

- Ben Franklin

me:

This writer wrote a trashy book and thats why the publisher didn't publish it. I guess he is free to spend his money on a good piece of writing also. The publisher explained that very well as a main reason BUT media choose to give a false idea; because he mentioned violence as a reason but not the main. FOR him the main was in the following quotations from his letter:-
' Spellberg also stated that the novel is a "very ugly, stupid piece of work" and added that "I don't have a problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography."[1] Spellberg later stated that "Jones' book only works by taking advantage of people's ignorance" and that "Jones' book is a mere burlesque.'

The main thing that should be in a writer's writings is to be reliable, if the writer wants to create lots of lies when she is talking about history then its a bad way to gain money.

This link discusses the novel and gives a review of it and explanation to many things about it ,

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1218650312355&pagename=Zone-English-ArtCulture%2FACELayout


since profit Mohammad married Aisha at the age 17 not 9 nor 14:- also from my point of view if he married at any age the year 600 is different from the modern world 2008. So please be aware that women in Europe suffered much and took their right only 1969 exactly so don't claim that year 600 for Muslims was different from 600 for Christians or Jews or any other religion. SO no need to use this to attack Islam.


Phoebe from Belgium:

I thought that U.S.A. was the country of free speech and am so disappointed in the Random House. Why doesn't the author places her book on the internet so that the whole world has access to it?

reply :

To :-
'This is a repeat for the umpteenth time of the list of “grievances” that is the “talking points”


History cannot be changed as much as you try to change it. Sabra and Shteela will be there always in you history also all the other crimes that Jews are committing every min. So i you want to claim .. do as always If you want to lie do as always....

BUT things will be always there in you history and your minds.

Jews didn't build there land with honor but on the blood of millions so don't tell me a mad man killed 5 millions... coz this mad man became mad coz he saw Jewish soldiers raping his mum , wife and sister and killing his children,

When you plant blood you get blood back. YOU planted blood only and not peace love or respect so dont expect harmed people to give you flowers back in 9-11 nor gold while your destroying their lives everyday and turning their world into a hell.

USA and Bush attacked Afghanistan after 9-11, destroyed Iraq coz they claim there is weapons there. Though till now they found nothing there. Also , Israel and USA owns many of these weapons and kills millions everyday. Anyways, your reaction to 9-11 was destroying more than one country killing many innocent and tormenting many in the prisons like Abugraib.

SO what do you expect from Muslims while your killing and killing and killing in Palestine since 1947 and even before.. now Iraq ... then many other places... what do you expect while your behind any catastrophe on the earth?

Why did you all forget that the novel was not published coz it is also " Spellberg also stated that the novel is a "very ugly, stupid piece of work" and added that "I don't have a problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography."[1] Spellberg later stated that "Jones' book only works by taking advantage of people's ignorance" and that "Jones' book is a mere burlesque."

So he also saw that it doesn't worth being publish... I don't know why do you argue for sth you didn't read and ignore a part of the fact that the publisher saw it trashy??

COZ you want to blame MUSLIMS as always though they didn't cancel the job.

No one can expect a reaction from Muslims though they didn't read the book yet. Maybe it discusses Islam in a way that they like?!

So if its trash then its badly written and doesn't worth paying money to publish it. If this novel cannot respect dead people then its place is the trash and if you westerns do not respect dead people then you do not respect yourselves also.


thinkspeak:

Perhaps the publisher should change the name to ‘Randomly Coward House'... Obviously when they agreed to publish the novel by Sherry Jones in the first place, it wasn’t deemed too vulgar, controversial or radical for publication. In fact, their commitment to the book is apparent since it nearly made it all the way through the lengthy publication process before they decided to pull it.

I am also mystified that Professor Spellberg, who was essentially sent a copy for the purpose of providing a cover blurb, could be allowed to do so much damage—primarily based upon her criticism of historical facts in a work of fiction—a standard I find it very hard to believe that Random House holds all of its historical fiction to. Furthermore, doesn’t Random House have some confidentiality agreement about work sent out prior to publication? It’s one thing if the person consulted refuses to endorse the novel, and it’s quite another if she is able to use her opinion based on privileged access to rally others, who were not given the same access, into some sort of campaign to not get the book released.

Of course, this doesn’t negate Random House’s willingness to ALLOW themselves to be threatened and intimidated. Obviously the public should be allowed to decide for themselves. Those against the novel have three not-so-radical courses of action available: one, don’t buy the novel, two: don’t read it (the ole ‘head in the sand’ option), or three: take the time, read it, and give it a thoughtful negative review. Random House's abrupt about-face shows poor confidence in their publication selection process (to say the least) if an apparently small group of dissenters can derail it so easily!

I am particularly offended by Random House's weak excuse that it's actions are somehow for the "greater good"--the greater good of its employees, the author, those who have protested against the novel(whose opinions of course represent those of all Muslims--as if even within Islam there are not multiple points of view), those who MAY be offended by the content, and of course, us -- the tabula rasa, willing-to-believe-everything-we-read-as-fact, ignorant public who should be impeded (at least for now) from access to the novel. The truth is that Random House has simply decided that this issue just isn't worth fighting for when measured against possible controversy --not a good sign to its other authors and not a good sign to the reading public. It makes me wonder--when publishers who should actively support diverse artistic expression can't be bothered, then who will?

Ibrahim mahfouz:

Ahmed tells me:
“The current version (of Omar Pact) you are referring to is definitely not a reliable quote.”

I checked out your link and could not find any difference between the two other than yours is addressed to the Jews while mine to the Christians. Just to make you happy I will cite your link below and shall use that address in all of my future discussions regarding Omar Pact.
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jews-umar.html

karim:

Ms.Jones was looking for a subject of controvery and she found one.She want to be very famous, or maybe a second Rushdi, don't you.
Thanks to Ms. Spellberg,she uncovered her dirty , she said that the novel" very ugly, tupid piece of work". she said also that Ms. Jones Is playing with sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography.
We do not like people who tries to play behind the scene.The prophet Mohamed and his wives are venerated by all the of us, I mean muslim people.And we will never tolerate someone to twist the truth of our religion. You do not belong to our faith so stay away from our culture and religion leave us in peace and try to find a more interesting subject to talk about than you stick your nose in something you don't really know.

Ahmed:

In response to Ibrahim Mahfouz.
I checked the url you posted. It seems like you did not read thoroughly before making a decision.
Here is a quote from the same site about pact of omar.
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jews-umar.html

"There are many variants of the text and scholars deny that the text as it now stands could have come from the pen of Umar I; it is generally assumed that its present form dates from about the ninth century."
The current version you are refering to is definitely not a reliable quote. Please, do not be blind in citicizing islam.

Terrorism: Mission Accomplished!:

Terrorism has done its job when a major publishing house censors itself in this fashion. Terrorism has succeeded, and Al-Qaeda and similar groups should feel proud, because we in the west are starting to do what they want without them even having to tell us. We are becoming their good little children.

RedGoblin:

Spellberg should be terminated from her teaching position. She is a small, weak-minded fear monger who no doubt hides under her bed when a thunder storm hits. Such craven spinelessness should not be tolerated by academic institutions.

BTW, all of you other ranters and raver ... please do go away, or hide under the bed w/ the Spellberg creature. How cozy that might be...

Observer:

Your all … spews:

“Do you claim Muslims are violent oooolala look at what your governments are doing in Iraq and what is you wrong ignorant support for Jews is doing in Palestine”

This is a repeat for the umpteenth time of the list of “grievances” that is the “talking points” of those with the victim mentality from the failed societies, and my humble responses.
“Who exterminated 6 million Jews?”
A crazy man and he did not do it in the name of his God.
“Who deposited two nuclear bombs in the middle of big cities?”
The USA did and it will do it again if our security is endangered.
“Who tore asunder a country that did not attack them on 9/11? “
Saddam had in order to intimidate his neighbors leaked to them that he had weapons of mass destruction. His Arab neighbors did not lose time in passing that information to us. We were not about to fold our hands and wait till we see mushroom clouds rise above our cities. Got that! Get over it, if you truly care and not looking for excuses to discredit others.
“Who practiced the Atlantic slave trade?”
A more appropriate question is who hunted those people and sold them as slaves and is doing this till this date.
A new addition is
“Who gave Palestine to the Jews?”
The large land owners who mostly belonged to the largest three families from whom the Muftis were selected bought out the small farmers and sold all their lands to the Jews and retired in Lebanon and Europe. That does not mean that all the land the Jews built their state upon was bought. Not by any means, but they were afforded a foothold from which they conquered and expropriated the rest.

your all silly stupied people:

Well , when I read such a thing from a free people in the West all I think they are not free at all. No more than stupid junks. Do you claim Muslims are violent oooolala look at what your governments are doing in Iraq and what is you wrong ignorant support for Jews is doing in Palestine. YOU guys always claim to be peace people but your no more than ignorant coz you don't know what crimes your governments are responsible for and you also.

History!! wow look at you dirty history all the wars all the killing. Bombs in Japan who was the first one who used it! Slavery? where in the USA when you vanished every American and built USA on the blood of the Native American! Did you forget??

Or maybe you forgot that your responsible for whats going on in Palestine and the Arab world?? YOU promised Jews to live in Palestine though you have no right to do?! Didn't you?

Did Muslims publish Davincii Code? No its Jews?!!

Go wake up and read you nasty history coz its full of crimes before talking about sth you know nothing about.

Observer:


Garak complains
“School boards attacked for considering recognizing Muslim holidays as opposed to only Christian holidays.”


I lived a number of years in Muslim Arab countries, and I saw firsthand how non-Muslims are treated there. They are openly referred to as infidels, and considered as unclean, just like dogs, pigs. The non-Muslims are discriminated against in jobs, housing, education and all other facets of living. Forget about the freedom of worship in many of those places. Although the excessive poll tax levied on non-Muslims have been repealed
after the European powers colonized those countries, yet now there are mounting voices calling for its reinstatement.
An increasing number of people from those failing societies are escaping to the West. They are an insignificant minority, yet they have a majority demands. A special foot washing facilities in public places, the right NOT to scan pork at grocery stores and NOT allow any kind of liquor carried in their cabs. They want special places within the school and workplace for their five times daily prostrating rituals, and special exercise facilities for their women. They now are asking for Muslim holidays to be recognized in the public institutions. The leaders of their organizations, which are multiplying like mushrooms, are now openly calling for the replacement of the constitutions of the host countries with their Sharia laws. They are taking advantage of the tolerant and pluralistic societies to change those societies’ character and make them look more like the ones they had left behind. It is that ironic.

Hamid:

Heh, since when was prophet Mohammed "elected" to anything? Saqib Khan apparently is confusing liberal democratic election ideals to the tribal rule of the elders equipped with young sword bearing fanatics running a protection racket.

But if he puts the violent language of a certain religion (sorry, cannot be named or they will censor me here on WP) in terms of sweet abstract language such as "diversity", "elections", "compassion", and "justice" -- then I guess the average western reader will just come to believe that Islam is such a darling egalitarian liberal democratic religion.

Wrong Mr. Saqib Khan. Westerners because of their open society and enlightenment do not get fooled so easily (mind you certain "post-left" proto-fascists have take a love of Islamism).

And I am an ex-Muslim, a proud apostate, and that to Khan;s chagrin because I have seen the violence of this to be unnamed religion and I recommed readers to discover the brutal and murderous life of the founder prophet of this violent religion and ignore the Islamist propagandists. Read the Koran and weep.

Hamid - a proud Muslim apostate - thank you western society for your freedoms and security and liberties and for social democracy. Enlightenment rules and obscurantism is condemned.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Kathib Khan Says:
�The West wants that the Muslim world adopts its values and prevails, but why should Muslims follow Western culture and their way of life that is decadent, immoral, vulgar, materialistic, selfish, and racist and declining fast?�
Moi:
Is this why Muslims are risking life and limb to get to the West�s shores?


�In Islamic states, non-Muslim communities had always enjoyed a judicial autonomy, not only for personal status but also for all affairs of life including civil, penal and others. Judicial powers were delegated to Christian priests and the Jewish hakham in the reign of many caliphs.�
Moi:
Refer to Omar Pact cited below
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pact-umar.html


In Abbasid caliphate: Muslims, Christians, Jews and others preserved their own modes of dress, their social manners and their distinct cultures.
Moi:
Refer to Omar Pact cited below.
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pact-umar.html

Islam is gaining ground In Europe, North and South America, Africa, South East Asia and it is not because of sword as many die-hard dim-hawks opponents say but because of its excellent message of love and peace for mankind.
Moi;
Refer to the cite below. The 6 million figure mentioned is only for Muslims converting every year in Africa alone.
http://www.formermuslims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=972

Garak:

Let's look here in the US for examples of freedom of expression. Monty Python's "Life of Brian" movie banned in Arkansas and elsewhere for blasphemy. The play "Angels in America" banned in red states for not demonizing gays an blaming them for AIDS. School boards attacked for considering recognizing Muslim holidays as opposed to only Christian holidays. School boards attacked for teaching the science of evolution instead of fundamentalist Protestant ignorance.

Yes, America is a beacon of truth and deep commitment to free speech. Except when Christians are in charge.

Mephista:

Ruth, I have no need to bash Spellberg, but I must condemn her actions: she drew her conclusions about this book, and then made her recommendations to Random House, but then told other 'interested' people, while the book was still embargoed, so she has damned herself by violating academic ethics, if you ask me.

I am an art historian, and some years ago a book was brought out by Random House, read by millions and bigged up on the fact that many Catholics would find it insulting if not blasphemous. At the time I was sputtering, and saying the truth is so much better, and I still think the novel is tosh, but IT IS A NOVEL.

On the upside, it has made people more interested in my subject for what it is and making up their own minds, which can only be a good thing. Spellberg is not charged with national security, she was asked for her professional academic opinion, and overreacted in a small-minded and delusional way. This is an appalling betryal by someone who really should have known better.

There is no god, anyway, don't see why we're all getting our knickers in a twist....

Oh, and the book I found so offensive? The daVinci Code, by one Dan Brown. Publisher? Random House.

ADB:

I agree 100% with G Bestever's post (August 14, 2008 7:25 AM):

"I find Saqib Khan’s missives convincing, scholarly, delightfully written and full of information that could be obtained without going into a library.

I want to commend Mr Khan for his beautiful art of writing immaculate English and his sincerity of his theological thought. Please ask Mr Khan to enrich us with more of his intellectual writings.

I also believe that Newsweek is privileged to have a writers like Saqib Khan on this forum.."

Ruth Roded:

Two superb fictional lives of the Prophet Muhammad, written by Muslims, are well worth reading (and available in English): Naguib Mahfouz "Children of Gebelawi" and Assia Djebar's "Far From Medina". The Egyptian writer Bint al-Shati wrote an interesting "Wives of the Prophet" which I have analyzed but I do not think it is available in English.

Denise Spellberg is a well-known scholarwho wrote a very important work on Aisha bint Abi Bakr; can't you disagree with her without trashing her?

Ruth Roded

Saqib Khan:

I wish to enlighten a lot of Newsweek’s readers that Islamic law ordains justice to, and observance of certain rules regarding the non-Muslims. Prophet Mohammed (SAW) when he settled in Medina with his followers was to constitute a city-state in which Muslims, Jews, Christians, pagan Arabs all entered into a social contract. The constitutional law of the first” Muslim” state succeeded in was a confederacy as a sequence of the multiplicity of the population groups which meant:” To Muslims their religion; and to the Jews their religion; to Christians their religion, and there would be benevolence and justice to all.

This also meant that the non-Muslims possessed the right to vote in the election of the head of the state as they elected Prophet Mohammed as their political head. In Islamic states, non-Muslim communities had always enjoyed a judicial autonomy, not only for personal status but also for all affairs of life including civil, penal and others. Judicial powers were delegated to Christian priests and the Jewish hakham in the reign of many caliphs. In the time of prophet Mohammed, the Jews of Medina had their synagogue and educational institute and in the treaty with the Christians of Narjan, Prophet Mohammed(SAW) gave a guarantee not only or the security of person and property of the inhabitant’s but left the nomination of bishops and priests to the Christian community itself.

In an Islamic state, non-Muslims constitute a protected community and it is therefore the duty of the governments to protect their legitimate interests. In Abbasid caliphate: Muslims, Christians, Jews and others preserved their own modes of dress, their social manners and their distinct cultures. The conception of nationality in Islam is based neither on an ethnic source nor on place of birth but on the identity of ideology i.e. religion. The Islamic law categorically forbids all recourse to compulsion for converting others to Islam and maintains rigorous discipline on its adherents in case of transgression. The basis of “nationality”is religious and not ethnic, linguistic or regional. Islam is gaining ground In Europe, North and South America, Africa, South East Asia and it is not because of sword as many die-hard dim-hawks opponents say but because of its excellent message of love and peace for mankind.

The most famous peace treaty in the Islamic history was the Hudaibiyah Agreement between Prophet Mohammed (PUBH) and the Quraish of Mecca. The Prophet before proceeding to Mecca attempted reconciliation with the Meccans. He promised them transit security to their trade routes, extradition of their fugitives and fulfillment of every condition the Meccans desired to achieve reconciliation. The two contacting parties promised at Hudaibiyah in the suburbs of Mecca, not only the maintenance of peace but also the observance of neutrality in their conflict with third parties.

The biggest problem that confronts the Muslims these days is that they are denied justice in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and many other parts and that causes them to take up arms against their oppressors and fight for their rights, freedom, liberty, honour, dignity and homeland. All these oppressed and suppressed people want is justice, live in dignity without fear of their lives, peacefully in their homes and homelands, not humiliated daily; and stop seeing their mothers, fathers, brothers sisters and children killed in hundreds of thousands as in Palestine, Iraq and Bosnia.

Circumstances are different now and the Muslims must learn to be pragmatic, forget about try to the past glory but regain what they have lost during colonialism. First, it is essential that Muslims detach themselves from this stereotype notion and a kind of entropy of mind that all is good in my garden and everything bad in my neighbour's garden. If Muslims want to regain their lost glory and dignity, they must become more inventive - as they were once the leaders in science, medicine, astronomy and engineering etc - and unite under the banner of the glorious Koran and not be counted as people of different sects forbidden in Islam. The West wants that the Muslim world adopts its values and prevails, but why should Muslims follow Western culture and their way of life that is decadent, immoral, vulgar, materialistic, selfish, and racist and declining fast? The Americans and the West have become the judges, jury and executors of justice as it suits them and are the cause of the most of the evils that inflict our world today. West leave us alone to live in peace and stop inflicting us with their imperialistic designs, policies and desire to regain ugly imperialism.

The entire life of a good Muslim whether spiritual or temporal is a discipline regulated by the Divine Law. We are instructed in the Quran not to veer to the extremes but adhere to ummatum wassatun (middle path) and refrain from excess of any kind and 99.99% earnestly strive to attain this middle ground, which is the most fertile ground in which to practice our Deen as Allah intended for us: an Islam of peace, compassion, mercy, tolerance and justice for all. We have to follow Islam in every aspect of our lives. Its distinct features are two: (1) harmonious equilibrium between temporal and the spiritual, permitting a full enjoyment of all that Allah has created; belief in one God without images and symbols. (2) All believers becoming brothers and sisters and equals without any distinction of class, race or tongue. The only superiority, which it recognizes, is a personal one, based on greater fear of God and greater piety. Islam seeks to establish a world community where every individual makes a constant effort for spreading the good and prevent evil.

In the Quran, Allah says that that those who commit suicide on this earth will in the life hereafter suffer the punishment by committing suicide until eternity- Islam considers suicide a shameful death. These terrorists have made a mockery of the innocent and the beautiful religion of Islam.

janephil:

Millions of muslims would like to leave Islam but know that if they tried, they would be killed immediately. Apostasy is a crime punishable by death in Islam. Muhammad knew that people would see through the lie of Islam and would want to leave the faith, so he got his henchmen to kill those who left and put an edict in the koran to validate it.

janephil:

Slavery is still much alive in many muslim majority countries.

Janephil:

Saqiib Khan:

"Let me tell many non-Muslims that Prophet Mohammed followed non-violent principles and methods throughout his life even under extreme provocations by his enemies. Prophet Mohammed in his entire prophetic life engaged in war only on three occasions. All the other incidents described as ghazwa [battles in which Mohammed supposedly participated] were in actual fact examples of avoidance of war and not instances of involvement
in battle."

That is a lie. Mohammed was nothing but a murderer and a pedophile. Mohammed founded Islam to validate his lustful hunger for young virgin girls and to legalize his murderous propensity to kill those who opposed him. Look at the muslim world today. Over 90 per cent of muslims are illiterate and live in poverty. Thousands of muslims are dying everyday because of hunger and many more muslims are dying at the hands of other muslims.

This world would be much better off if there were no muslims.

Hesperado:

Two of my posts submitted in the last couple of days, couched in intelligent and mature manner, have been censored from this site, apparently by the "blog owner". It is highly ironic, in light of the fact that this particular comments field is discussing the censorship of an American author over Muslim death threats.

Observer:

MJA asks:

“Who exterminated 6 million Jews?”
A crazy man and he did not do it in the name of his God.
“Who deposited two nuclear bombs in the middle of big cities?”
The USA did and it will do it again if our security is endangered.
“Who dropped napalm on a peasant people?”
Those innocent peasant people were collaborating with terrorists who were fighting us.
“Who tore asunder a country that did not attack them on 9/11? “
Saddam had in order to intimidate his neighbors leaked to them that he had weapons of mass destruction. His Arab neighbors did not lose time in passing that information to us. You wanted us to wait till we see mushroom clouds above our cities.
“Who practiced the Atlantic slave trade?”
A more appropriate question is who hunted those people and sold them as slaves and is doing this till this date.

spectator:

Longhornmama

“But let me ask you this: if you had a professor who spoke to you the way spectator speaks to this forum, would you want to learn from him, given he had something substantive to teach? Highly unlikely.”

I don’t know which one of my post made you angry with me. Was it my reference to God and Mary? If you are a Christian, or just merely a decent person, then you should be offended by it. That reference was exceedingly offensive, to say the least.

Now, think about the garbage dumped on this very board, and across the Western world on almost a daily basis, on a Prophet who is clearly revered by a billion people. Yet that’s considered “freedom of speech”. The sensitivities of those people are completely disregarded and dismissed with a contemptuous laughter.

Maybe you are angry with me the way I pointed out the short coming of Muslims and their impotence with respect to other civilizations. But sometimes you have to hit hard to make the other person see the reality. I am not against Muslims, I am with them. I feel really bad for their helplessness in this barrage of filth dumped on their Prophet and their religion. If they were not at the bottom of the totem pole this would have never happened.

Franklin Graham called Islam an “evil and wicked religion”. Would you want to learn from him? Highly likely. Therein lies your hypocrisy.

Anonymous:

Somali:

In your post, you stated that people in America don't really have freedom of speech. To support this claim, you pointed to two examples. In one example, you said that African Americans cannot demand reparations for slavery.

I searched on Amazon. I found published books ranging from "Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations" to "Long Overdue: The Politics of Racial Reparations" All of these are books that are published and sold in the USA. People are speaking about these issues, even though you claimed, "He simply cannot even talk about it."

In your other example concerning the impeachment of the president, you seemed like you were talking about two separate issues. First, I will discuss your claim that the freedom of speech does not exist. If the freedom of speech did not exist, then Americans would not be able to call for the impeachment of Bush.

On Amazon, anybody can buy a book called "Impeach the President: The Case Against George Bush and Dick Cheney" written by Dennis Loo. In this book, the author is calling for impeachment of Bush.

You then said that freedom of speech doesn't matter if you don't have the power for action. While I understand this point a little bit better, I disagree that we don't have power. There is a legal process that can be followed to impeach the president. In fact, some people are trying to do this right now. They have not succeeded because they do not have popular support.

You thought that there were several ideas that were taboo here, yet there are multiple published books on those taboos. Freedom of speech gave those authors the right to publish their books, even though many Americans didn't want to hear their message. Sherry Jones should enjoy that freedom too.

LucyQ:

Sherry Jones - here's a tip - Phone Amazon and ask if the book qualifies for distribution and if yes publish it.

longhornmama:

BeowulfthePolitician:


I appreciate your well wishes and your rational comments.

When I was discussing the lack of purpose in this discussion, I was referring to the hateful aspects of it; from those members that are not here to learn through discussion, but rather hate through their inflammatory and largely unnecessary comments. Reasonable and rational discussion using all relevant perspectives is not only a right in this country, but something that drives education and achievement, of which I am a staunch supporter. If I was not a believer of it, then I wouldn’t be participating in this forum. But let me ask you this: if you had a professor who spoke to you the way spectator speaks to this forum, would you want to learn from him, given he had something substantive to teach? Highly unlikely.

Had I been dismissing discussions that involve differences of opinions, you would be correct in labeling me as condescending. But as is, I feel that label is only true if you take my comments out of context. If this is still not clear from my previous post, I hope this one clears it up. Once this clarification is complete, I would like to hear your thoughts on Sherry Jones’ fiction and Random House’s cancellation of its contract.

Best

BeowulfthePolitician:

To Anonymous:

Having babysat my 1 yr old nephew extensively this summer, I learned firsthand the joy that children can bring, so I heartily congratulate you on the birth of your child.

Secondly, you commented:

“History is written by man, not time, therefore I find it rather useless to discuss different men's interpretations of events over time with others who were, for the most part, not present at those events…Essentially this highly emotional and hateful dialogue is useless; neither side is going to change their mind about what they believe in, how they feel about this situation and what part of their belief system it violates. So why keep hating?”

In Conflict Resolution, you learn to see through ad hominem attacks and deal directly with the root causes. Though you find it “useless” to discuss different interpretations, it is through these very discussions that we come to better understand each other’s positions. There are huge misconceptions between Muslims and non-Muslims. These forums help us to learn from each other, even if it means navigating through one another’s religious & emotional defenses first. Though I may not agree with MJA and Saqib Khan, their comments have helped me better understand the spectrum of Muslim thought regarding how the West is viewed. Your squeamishness at the passion by which both sides advance and defend their ideas is no reason for us to temper our discourse either.

Your desire for a dispassionate and cerebral discourse while noble, is unrealistic. In the end, this is a public forum, and the 1st Amendment gives us the right to discuss the issues however we choose. (Within the newspaper’s discretion, of course.)

I welcome the opportunity to dialogue with you or anyone, but let’s begin by dispensing with the condescension, shall we? This is an open forum and the Washington Post determines what is and isn’t acceptable.

Regards.

spectator:

Okay. #186 was from me. Forgot to enter my alias before hitting "Post"

Anonymous:

Anonymous

“I have a Bachelor's degree from The University of Texas, a Master's degree from Yale and am currently working towards my JD. Trust me when I say I have enough to fall back on aside from my religion”

Following that opening, rest of your writing is …what?

Good for you and everybody from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Algeria to Egypt, a majority of whose population is following the path of education and enlightenment as you. Now, within one generation I can see numerous Muslims winning the Nobel and Olympic medals from those countries! After all, all those countries have better institutes of learning than Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Princeton.

When I say Muslims have nothing to fall back on, I am not talking about individuals but the group as a whole. But apparently that obvious implication is lost on a lawyer-to-be like you. Good luck with your practice.

Anonymous:

Anonymous,

congratulations on the birth of your child...

Anonymous:

spectator,

let me set you and perhaps the Muslim-hating masses a little straight.

I have a Bachelor's degree from The University of Texas, a Master's degree from Yale and am currently working towards my JD. Trust me when I say I have enough to fall back on aside from my religion, which just so happens to be Islam and with the birth of my beautiful child recently, am as far from miserable as is humanly possible.

History is written by man, not time, therefore I find it rather useless to discuss different men's interpretations of events over time with others who were, for the most part, not present at those events. And even if one of us had been there, I think we can all agree that there is always at least two separate perspectives to each event. Essentially this highly emotional and hateful dialogue is useless; neither side is going to change their mind about what they believe in, how they feel about this situation and what part of their belief system it violates. So why keep hating?

Perhaps a more constructive way to move forward is to stop assuming that the other is retarded and definitly to stop saying it. Those of us who are adults usually use a method called 'agreeing to disagree'. Possibly a good time to start. Once that is established we can still carry on a respectful conversation about why we each believe what we believe, furthering better understanding of each other's perspective.

It is highly doubtful that anyone will be converted from a forum of discussion. But that doesn't mean we can't treat each other and each other's ideas with respect.

On a final note, please do not bring up what Muslim countries and other leaders, etc etc should have done, do or are doing in regards to my post. I speak for myself, so please don't preach to me about anyone else.

spectator:

BeowulfthePolitician

The Muslims like MJA and his kind do not want to hear the truth that how far Muslims are lagging behind the rest of the world today in everything that matters in today’s world: from political freedom to freedom of speech to economics to science and technology to art and literature. Play-victim and running to their religion is the only recourse they have. They have nothing else to fall back on to.

The tragedy is that, instead of acknowledging the problem and doing something to address that, they hide behind their religion and blame everybody else for their miserable existence.

Fate:

Rand al thor wrote: "How does someone make a quick buck these days? Go on an islam bashing spree and you will be amply rewarded. No doubt she won't be the last person."

I agree, but no one was bashing Muslims years ago. What happened? Maybe Islamic terrorism which seems to have wide support among Muslims?

Rand al thor wrote: "I also find it so funny from many americans shouting about 'violent' islam. When their country has invaded and bombed countless countries."

Name a time when Americans attacked civilians for the sole purpose or terrorizing the population?

Rand al thor wrote: "Name one muslim country that has attacked a western country and invaded it and occupies it to this day. Just one country. Please."

The following is a list of Muslim wars which took territory and held it, most to this day. Those which are no longer in Muslim hands Italy, Hispania, etc, were taken back by Christian armies:

Byzantine-Arab Wars: 634-750
Conquest of Persia: 633-651
Conquest of Transoxiana: 662-709
Conquest of Sindh: 664-712
Conquest of Hispania: 711-718
Conquest of the Caucasus: 711-750
Conquest of Nubia: 700-1606
Battles in Southern Italy: 831-902
Conquest of Anatolia: 1060-1360
Byzantine-Ottoman Wars: 1299-1453

And lets not forget the Barbary pirates who conducted raids into Western and Northern Europe, as far as Britain and Iceland, and the Tatar invasions of eastern Europe. Your history of a peaceful spread of Islam is a fantasy. Certainly some people adopted Islam just as some in Europe adopted Christianity, but both were spread by the sword. History is clear on this.

It has always amazed me how Muslims can read about how the murder of infidels is permissible in their Quran and at the same time call themselves peaceful. The truth is that Islam is peaceful (to Muslims), Islam is generous (to Muslims), Islam does not allow murder (of Muslims). The attitide is that as long as you are a Muslim you have nothing to fear from Islam, so what is the problem.

BeowulfthePolitician:

Rand Al Thor wrote:

"I also find it so funny from many americans shouting about 'violent' islam. When their country has invaded and bombed countless countries. Name one muslim country that has attacked a western country and invaded it and occupies it to this day. Just one country. Please. Thought so. So please spare us this impending monolith of doom that arises from the east."

=======================

The reason why we can't name a muslim country that has successfully invaded and occupied a non-muslim country in recent history is because of how inept muslim militaries have proven themselves in the last 100 years. However, it certainly hasn't been for lack of effort. Here's a wikipedia quote on one failed muslim invasion in recent history:

"In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab.[9] The Arab League rejected the plan, but on May 14, 1948, the Jewish provisional government declared Israel's independence. Subsequently, Israel's Arab neighbors invaded the new nation with the hope of regaining territory previously held by the Ottoman Empire and preventing the creation of an independent Jewish state. The Israelis defeated the Arabs in a series of wars confirming their independence and expanding the borders of the Jewish state beyond those in the UN Partition Plan. Since then, Israel has been in conflict with many of the neighboring Arab countries, resulting in several major wars and decades of violence that continue to this day.[10] Since its foundation, Israel's boundaries and even the State's very right to exist have been subject to dispute, especially among its Arab neighbors. However, Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and efforts are being made to reach a permanent accord with the Palestinians.[11]"

Rand al thor:

Aaah poor sherry jones. just the latest gold digger looking to get into lucrative muslim bashing book produce. It's the in thing these days. How does someone make a quick buck these days? Go on an islam bashing spree and you will be amply rewarded. No doubt she won't be the last person.


I also find it so funny from many americans shouting about 'violent' islam. When their country has invaded and bombed countless countries. Name one muslim country that has attacked a western country and invaded it and occupies it to this day. Just one country. Please. Thought so. So please spare us this impending monolith of doom that arises from the east.

spectator:

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

“Humane reasons for marrying 11 women at the same time while keeping an undetermined number of concubines”

And how do you know that? Was that documented during Mohammad’s life? If not, how long after his death these stories were documented?


Roxanne

Why doesn’t Ms Jones spend five years writing a novel about how God screwed “Virgin” Mary, then lets see how many Christian publishers will be willing to publish that.

Hala, UT Alum:

MJA vs Spectator.
AND THE WINNER IS... MJA!!!

spectator - your arguments don't carry any merit due to your childish, inflammatory responses. Please refrain from posting until you have grown up.


Roxanne:

How ironic the writer seems to be trying to portray Islam in a positive or maybe even PC light - but regardless of good intentions - and the banishment and purging of any and all Islamophobic thoughts - the reality of Islam is still there. Jihad against those who will offend in any way the immensely complex structure of rules which govern Islam - is what the publisher Random House - had to face up to - no matter how much they might have liked to help.

Muslims are creating a reality - with their violence and intimidation - which will be hard live down for many years to come. It doesn't matter what I think about Islam - I just turn on the news and the reality of Islamic behaviour is there every day for all to see!

Maybe an Islamic publisher might be willing to publish the glorious story of how the old Muhammad slept with little nine year old A'isha. The Saudi religious authority recently announced that a Saudi 'man' can marry a child as young as one year old. I suppose we could all imagine the 'scorpion's sting' - and how like 'jewels' these children are too.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Saqib Khan
In your long and wordy diatribe you did not answer any of my refutations to your earlier allegations about the 1.Loyalty of your prophet to just one woman 2. Humane reasons for marrying 11 women at the same time while keeping an undetermined number of concubines 3. Humble? and simple lifestyle? of your prophet and 4. The peace? and harmony? that your prophet preached.
Now you are adding the tolerance of Islam and its peaceful nature. To answer those two new additions, I shall only quote one verse .

“Fight those who believe not
In Allah nor the Last Day,
Nor hold that forbidden
Which hath been forbidden
By Allah and His Apostle,= meaning Mohammad
Nor acknowledge the Religion
Of Truth (even if they are) ==meaning Islam
Of the people of the Book ==Christians and Jews
Until they pay the Jizya =additional head tax
With willing submission
And feel themselves subdued.=humiliated
(Quran 9:29)”

honisoitquimalypense:

Ms Jones,

Why not publish your book electronically? Cut out the cowardly middle man. Talk to Amazon. Good luck.

G Bestever:

I find Saqib Khan’s missives convincing, scholarly, delightfully written and full of information that could be obtained without going into a library.

I want to commend Mr Khan for his beautiful art of writing immaculate English and his sincerity of his theological thought. Please ask Mr Khan to enrich us with more of his intellectual writings.

I also believe that Newsweek is privileged to have a writers like Saqib Khan on this forum..


Saqiib Khan:

I found so many comment by non-Muslims fatuous and devoid of cerebral membrane. I need not waste my time to convince hordes in opinion and thought as they are people of mistrust and born with mendaciousness against Islam. There is a saying in "It is useless to play a flute to a cow to yield more milk as it would not know the difference between two notes."

Let me tell many non-Muslims that Prophet Mohammed followed non-violent principles and methods throughout his life even under extreme provocations by his enemies. Prophet Mohammed in his entire prophetic life engaged in war only on three occasions. All the other incidents described as ghazwa [battles in which Mohammed supposedly participated] were in actual fact examples of avoidance of war and not instances of involvement in battle.

There were only three instances of Muslims really entering the field of battles: Badr, Uhud and Hunayn. In all these battles, it is estimated that 263 Muslims were martyred and nearly three times the number of non-believers were killed. The Prophet(SAW) was compelled to take arms as all attempts of avoidance failed and self-defence was the only option. Furthermore, these battles lasted only for half a day, each beginning from noon and ending with the setting of the sun. Thus it would be proper to say that the Prophet (SAW) in his entire life span actively engaged in war for a total of a day and a half. It is true to say that that the Prophet observed the principle of non-violence throughout his 23 year prophetic career, except for one and a half days. He believed that violent method invariably invokes ego that results in breakdown of the social equilibrium.

He was pragmatic, foresighted and also a brilliant thinker. After the battle of Badr, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken as prisoners. They were educated people and the Prophet Mohammed(SAW) announced that if any of them would teach 10 Muslim children how to read and write, he would be freed. This was the first school in the history of Islam in which all of the students were Muslims and all of the teachers were from the enemy rank.

Islam is an entirely tolerant religion. Islam says tolerance is the only basis for peace in a society and where tolerance is absent, peace will be non-existent. Islam also preaches nothing but peace and harmony all around. Let me also say that Islam also rules out the concept of community superiority for any given group and even Muslims have been told that salvation by Islamic standards depends upon the individual's own actions, and that it is not the prerogative of any group. With regard to the command of war in Islam, it is true that certain verses in the Quran convey the command to do battle (Qital 22:39). What the special circumstances are which justify the issuance of and compliance with this command we learn from our study of the Quran. The first point to be noted is that aggression or the launching of an offensive by the believers is not totally forbidden. It is permissible but with certain provisos. We are clearly commanded in the Quran: Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not be aggressive. Only defensive war is permitted in which aggression is committed by some other party so that the believers have to fight in self-defence. Initiating hostility is not permitted for Muslims.

Furthermore in the case of the offensive being launched by an opposing group, the believers are not supposed to retaliate immediately. Rather, in the beginning all efforts are to be made to avert war, and only when avoidance has become impossible is battle to be resorted to inevitable in defence. One great problem for the Muslims these days is that peace does not necessarily guarantee them justice. This has caused a few disenchanted young Muslims to become violent and neglect opportunities for dawah inviting non-inviting non-believers to convert to Islam. Islam would have by now spread in hordes to every inch of our Earth with dawah if the stupid kamikaze bombers had not attacked the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.

Muslims the world over are cornered, persecuted and humiliated by the West and Zionist Israel. Muslims are in a state of physical and mental unrest and want nothing but to live in peace. When one reads recent history of shameless Christians who massacred over 25 million native Americans to forcefully convert them to Christianity, and for the greed of colonizing America; in the name of Christianity and greed, they enslaved more than 60 million Africans and killed another 30 million transporting in captivity, and colonizing Africa; in the name of Christianity and greed, they colonized Muslim lands, massacring over 40 million Muslims during their colonial rule, and are still doing it around the world. It is so stupid and naive of the Christians that they do not know much about their own religion and try to explain Islam to us with filth and perfidy in mind.

It would be wrong to attribute the rapid expansion of Islam to any single cause, especially "the sword". It was the weakness of the Byzantines and Sassanids as a result of their mutual territorial and political conflicts leading to collapse of their empires. It is worth asking a question: How could the Bedouins of Arabia with a few horses and equipment in such a short period of 25 years conquer these mighty empires and advanced civilizations under the flag of Islam? I can tell so many non-Muslims prejudiced minds that it was the dynamism and magnanimity of Islam, which began spreading rapidly to all corners of the globe, and was accepted by the locals with open arms and hearts. The simplicity and reasonableness of Muslims' religious doctrines together with their practical example of a life of piety and righteousness attracted proselytes to Islam. Plunder and economic gain are baseless accusations levied against Islam's spreading so rapidly to all corners of the Earth. It is an absurd and prejudiced attempt to put Islamic civilization the same pedestal as Christendom with its barbaric record of crusades; its ruthless imperialism and colonial expansionism purely for greed in the disguise of the Holy Bible.

The Muslims could never spread en masse from Medina to China to Spain, as there were not many Arabs to be distributed over all the immense territory. In the beginning, these wars were rather political and there was absolute no desire on the part of the Muslims to impose religion by force, which also is totally prohibited in Islam. If we read history not written by European historians, at no time in Islamic civilization was compulsion employed to convert the subjugated peoples. Islamic law recognizes liberty for the non-Muslims to preserve their beliefs and forbids all recourse to compulsion for converting others to Islam.

We have just to open pages of history and find out that hundreds of millions of non-Christians were massacred by the European Christians with a Bible in one hand and gunpowder in the other purely for looting the wealth of alien lands of North and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Australian continent. On the other hand, Islam was a sigh of relief for the vanquished and they considered it a change for better, protection of their civil rights, freedom to worship their religions as they wished without any compulsion

I found so many comment by non-Muslims fatuous and devoid of cerebral membrane. I need not waste my time to convince hordes in opinion and thought as they are creatures of mistrust and born with mendaciousness against Islam. There is a saying in "It is useless to play a flute to a cow to yield more milk as it would not know the difference between two notes." Let me tell many non-Muslims that Prophet Mohammed followed non-violent principles and methods throughout his life even under extreme provocations by his enemies. Prophet Mohammed in his entire prophetic life engaged in war only on three occasions. All the other incidents described as ghazwa [battles in which Mohammed supposedly participated] were in actual fact examples of avoidance of war and not instances of involvement in battle.

There were only three instances of Muslims really entering the field of battles: Badr, Uhud and Hunayn. In all these battles, it is estimated that 263 Muslims were martyred and nearly three times the number of non-believers were killed. The Prophet(SAW) was compelled to take arms as all attempts of avoidance failed and self-defence was the only option. Furthermore, these battles lasted only for half a day, each beginning from noon and ending with the setting of the sun. Thus it would be proper to say that the Prophet (SAW) in his entire life span actively engaged in war for a total of a day and a half. It is true to say that that the Prophet observed the principle of non-violence throughout his 23 year prophetic career, except for one and a half days. He believed that violent method invariably invokes ego that results in breakdown of the social equilibrium.

He was pragmatic, foresighted and also a brilliant thinker. After the battle of Badr, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken as prisoners. They were educated people and the Prophet Mohammed(SAW) announced that if any of them would teach 10 Muslim children how to read and write, he would be freed. This was the first school in the history of Islam in which all of the students were Muslims and all of the teachers were from the enemy rank.

Islam is an entirely tolerant religion. Islam says tolerance is the only basis for peace in a society and where tolerance is absent, peace will be non-existent. Islam also preaches nothing but peace and harmony all around. Let me also say that Islam also rules out the concept of community superiority for any given group and even Muslims have been told that salvation by Islamic standards depends upon the individual's own actions, and that it is not the prerogative of any group. With regard to the command of war in Islam, it is true that certain verses in the Quran convey the command to do battle (Qital 22:39). What the special circumstances are which justify the issuance of and compliance with this command we learn from our study of the Quran. The first point to be noted is that aggression or the launching of an offensive by the believers is not totally forbidden. It is permissible but with certain provisos. We are clearly commanded in the Quran: Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not be aggressive. Only defensive war is permitted in which aggression is committed by some other party so that the believers have to fight in self-defence. Initiating hostility is not permitted for Muslims.

Furthermore in the case of the offensive being launched by an opposing group, the believers are not supposed to retaliate immediately. Rather, in the beginning all efforts are to be made to avert war, and only when avoidance has become impossible is battle to be resorted to inevitable in defence. One great problem for the Muslims these days is that peace does not necessarily guarantee them justice. This has caused a few disenchanted young Muslims to become violent and neglect opportunities for dawah inviting non-inviting non-believers to convert to Islam. Islam would have by now spread in hordes to every inch of our Earth with dawah if the stupid kamikaze bombers had not attacked the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.

Muslims the world over are cornered, persecuted and humiliated by the West and Zionist Israel. Muslims are in a state of physical and mental unrest and want nothing but to live in peace. When one reads recent history of shameless Christians who massacred over 25 million native Americans to forcefully convert them to Christianity, and for the greed of colonizing America; in the name of Christianity and greed, they enslaved more than 60 million Africans and killed another 30 million transporting in captivity, and colonizing Africa; in the name of Christianity and greed, they colonized Muslim lands, massacring over 40 million Muslims during their colonial rule, and are still doing it around the world. It is so stupid and naive of the Christians that they do not know much about their own religion and try to explain Islam to us with filth and perfidy in mind.

Anonymous:

Observer:

You misunderstood the point of my response to your post. I wasn't criticizing you; I was simply saying that a good, perhaps better, way to show how Muslims go against modern human rights, rather than adducing a 7th century Caliph, is to adduce the current (and decades-long) position of the O.I.C. with regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This doesn't mean the jizya and the Pact of Omar aren't also good things to put forth.

Hesperado:

Spectator:

"You quote Bukhari as evidence for Mohammad’s sex life. How long after Mohammad’s death was Bukhari writing about Mohammad? Was Bukhari in Mohammad’s room to witness the sexual intercourse? What evidence?"

Your questions don't matter to Muslims. They do not use the same standards of historiography as we do. It doesn't matter if what Bukhari recorded "really" happened; what matters is what Muslims *believe* happened, insofar as they trust Bukhari and the isnad chains of his hadiths.

Bottom Line: Muslims and their apologists claim that Mohammed did not marry Aisha as young as 6 and consummate that marriage when she was 9; and they sometimes make claims of a later age (like 11, as Sherry Jones says, without evidence, or 15 or whatever) -- but their most authoritative source (Bukhari) reports that he married her at age 6 and consummated that marriage at age 9. So their attempts at obfuscation are refuted ON THEIR OWN sources.

vkguptan:

The whole world is full of religious fanatics. They are very touchy about any criticism of their religion. Even a simple artistic work may become controversial if there is some mention of religion which is not to the liking of the chauvinists. It is not a particular trait of Muslims. Here in India the federal government and state governments are banning one thing or other fearing religious clashes. Some years back a play called ' Sixth Wound of Christ' was banned of some reference to Christ which the Christians did not like. About 'Satanic Verses' it is well known.
Now a controversy is going on for making a shipping channel between India and Sri Lanka because the mythology says that the Hindu God Sri Ram had built a bridge there and the channel will destroy the mythological bridge. People believe in mythology instead of history.
Until the whole world banish religion from the streets to ones heart this will continue. Till such time as far as religion is concerned freedom of speech has no meaning.
My sympathies are with Ms.Jones. Then cannot fault with Random House. They must have decided that discretion is better part of valour.

spectator:

Hesperado (or is it Desperado)

You quote Bukhari as evidence for Mohammad’s sex life. How long after Mohammad’s death was Bukhari writing about Mohammad? Was Bukhari in Mohammad’s room to witness the sexual intercourse? What evidence?

Hesperado:

To the editors of this website:

Why did you censor my post showing evidence from Sahih Bukhari that Mohammed married Aisha when she was 6 and consummated that marriage (= had sexual intercourse with her) when she was 9?

Apostate:

Anonymous said
“Quran lays down a basic principle: “ there is no compulsion in religion, verily the right path has (now) become distinct from wrong,” (2:256).”

This and other seemingly tolerant verses were written in Mecca during the early part of Mohammad’s mission, when he was looking for followers from among the Christians, Jews and Pagans. Later after he moved to Medina and gained enough followers he abrogated (made no longer applicable while keeping the text) all those tolerant verses and replaced them with very intolerant verses such as 9:29 that openly incites for the killing of the pagans and oppressing and humiliating the Jews and Christians.
Muslims know very well which verses were abrogated, yet they intentionally ignore that "minor detail" to deceive the “infidels”. This is in accordance with the principle of "Taqiyya" in their religion according to which it is halal (allowable) to lie if that furthers the cause of Islam.

spectator:

MJA

Dude, why is soooo relevant to you who killed how many? History is full of people killing each other. Heck, Muslims have killed each other more than any followers of other faith.

What should be relevant to you is how many scientists, mathematicians, literary figures and artists Muslims are producing today. Given a population of 1.3 billion, how many Nobel Prizes have you guys won? How many Olympic medals?

But, being a one-eye Mullah Omar, you won’t get the drift. May you live happily ever after in the dark hole.

Robin:

It is too bad Barricade Books went bankrupt and Lyle Stuart died. He would have taken on the challenge of publishing this book, as he was an unstinting devotee of the First Amendment (my favorite thing about being an American, too, by the way, and something I give thanks to G-d for every Thanksgiving, in front of all the children).

Lyle Stuart was not afraid of literary controversy. He republished the white supremacist novel "The Turner Diaries" despite Morris Dees' pleas not to, on the grounds that it would foment hate. Stuart felt that putting such a book out there, 19 years after it went out of print the first time and two years after Timothy McVeigh used it as a blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombings, would allow people to see the hate for themselves, make up their own minds, and repudiate it.

MJA:

Spectator: from what poisoned chalice do you drink?

I understand that you are ignorant: that is forgivable, as you are an American living under the era of Fox News.

But seriously? What under the rule of any Islamic empire - or that of any empire - can compare with the record of Western atrocities in the 20th century?

Who exterminated 6 million Jews?

Who deposited two nuclear bombs in the middle of big cities?

Who dropped napalm on a peasant people?

Who tore asunder a country that did not attack them on 9/11?

Who practiced the Atlantic slave trade?


Yes, yes, it must have been those wicked Muslims behind it all!

At any rate, rest assured. My insistence on not being demonized by American hypocrites who have killed 33 times more innocent civilians than bin Laden does not at all mean I do not also simultaneously endeavor to improve Muslim knowledge and intellect in all possible areas.

Somali:

The Terrorist They Call "president" Is The Enemy Of Humanity!!

White people. They cannot tell a story straight. They LIE a lot. I don't think they even know what the word "TRUTH" means. This word may have meant something to the white man a long time ago. But NOW it means nothing. The english-speaking white man has SABOTAGED his own language, rendering it useless and meaningless. You cannot TRUST, a key word among human beings, the englishman. You cannot trust the white american. You cannot TRUST the white Australian nor the white canadian, the white newzealander. Simply put, you NO LONGER can rely on the white man's word!!

Take the words "Freedom Of Speech". These are mere words. They mean nothing at all. There's NO such thing even though the white man will tell you hotly that he enjoys this non-existent thing. Ask this same man, if he is american, if he can IMPEACH the terrorist he calls "president." The white man of america will tell you he would like very much to impeach the terrorist. BUT HE CANNOT DO IT. WHY? Because the opinion just expressed, the desire he just expressed to impeach the hated terrorist, CANNOT be HONOURED because the white man who says this has NO POWER to have his stated opinion, desire, turned into action. He cannot even call the terrorist a terrorist because he CANNOT. The jew media won't allow him to call his "president", a terrorist really, a terrorist in the media. Sure I can do this here. Sure the white man can do this here on this forum. But this forum counts for ZERO, ZILCH. We come here to entertain each other, us powerless, and shout, foam at the mouth, yell, scream. But who will hear you?

Finaly ask this same white man if the black man, aka the african american enjoys "freedom of expression" in HIS OWN country, america. The blackman has NOOOOO right to demand reparations for being enslaved for 400 years of hard labor. No. He simply cannot even talk about it. He is NOT allowed talk like this. Ask Kanye West, the rapper, what happened to him when he blurted out "bush (the terrorist) does NOT like black people." etc.

So don't talk to me about so-called "freedom" of expresion, stupid woman.Does the american MUSLIM, the one in the TORTURE CHAMBERS of that stinking cesspool called america, whose PROPHET you are YEARNING, nay, DYING soooooo much to SLUR, HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN AMERICA, supposedly "the greatest democracy on the palnet"???????

"the greatest democracy" Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

Help!! I cannot stop laughing here!!!!!

spectator:

MJA

“Ignorance of Islam is surpassed here only by ignorance of history.”

I see, like Mullah Omar, you have got only one eye. You are incapable of scanning the landscape objectively.

Please educate yourself about Muslims’ history and see how benevolent they have been to others. The atrocities they have committed and pain they have inflicted on others pales to what others are doing to them today.

You will never get anywhere with the victim mentality. You are stuck at the bottom of the totem pole and you hate everyone who is above you, especially the US who is sitting at the top.

Education, enlightenment, peace and prosperity is the only way out of the dark hole you are living in. Hatred and finger-pointing will keep you where you are for a very long time. The choice is yours.


MJA:

Ignorance of Islam is surpassed here only by ignorance of history.

There were leaders in Muslim countries leading the path to modernization.

They were called socialists.

But America in its Cold War crusade smashed these forces - by employing those "Muslim extremists" you so sanctimoniously rail against now.

And yes, the extermination of more than 100,000 Arabs is a "grievance" that any legitimate human being - not just those who happen to be Arab or Muslim - understand as legitimate. Couple that with the apartheid practiced by America's aircraft carrier, Israel.

I seriously doubt you would so blithely dismiss so many killings if the equivalent of 33 September 11ths hit America.

Indeed, with the entire victim mentality America carries around after just one September 11th, a rational observer would conclude that your cavalier dismissal of 100,00 lives is just a reflection of your racist attitude toward Muslims implanted in your head through Fox News and its lesser imitators.

spectator:

MJA

The problem with your argument is that you have nothing but grievances, all against non-Muslims. However, before you point your finger to others, please take a good look at where the Muslims stand today, at the dawn of twenty first century, vis-à-vis other civilizations. While rest of the world is moving forward, you are stuck in the stone age. Your grievances and rage should be directed towards the Muslim rulers who have screwed the Muslims royally by keeping them ignorant and stupid. Muslims need revolution in the countries where they are in majority: revolution of education and enlightenment. Teach them physics, math, geography, literature, art, astronomy and history, not bomb-making and hatred.

Wake up and smell the coffee, dude.

MJA:

"It is equally heinous to kill 2,900 as it is to kill 100,000..."

Right.

If it is "equally" heinous then where is the effluvia or rhetoric about the problems within Christianity, within Judaism, within the West, within secularism?

If you're honest enough to concede that the military you are so proud of has murdered 100,000 Muslims in Iraq alone (see: Lancet study), then why do you reserve all your pontificating for only Muslim extremists?

Muslim extremism is not only tiny compared to Western extremism, it is also a reaction to it.

Maybe if you spent less time bloviating about Islam and more time paying attention to the atrocities of your own government, less Muslims abroad would see their loved ones die and get radicalized in the first place.

BeowulfthePolitician:

To MJA:

“Cute. Let's dismiss the vastly disproportionate slate of casualties (more than 100,000 Muslims killed compared to 2,900 American civilians)with blithe declarations about how things are "unfortunate."


It is equally heinous to kill 2,900 as it is to kill 100,000. Would not both atrocities receive the same prison sentence? Your brooding over the disproportion of deaths does not legitimize your cause.
---

“Also where did I say I want to wage war? Someone is projecting.”

While you did not use the specific verbiage, your implications reach the same conclusion.

---

“I'm glad we have benevolent people like yourself to sort out the Good Muslims and the Bad Muslims. How does it feel to be God?”

Why thank you. I’ve always thought of myself as benevolent, too. At least we agree on something! If I was God, I would have a lot more money and a lot less debt. However, when I achieve Divine status, you’ll be the first to know. (I recommend you stay indoors during the next lightning storm as my "benevolence" may run out before the storm does. >:)

---

"A bit touchy, are we? I point out the incontrovertible fact, confirmed by all major human rights organizations and news agencies, that the U.S. has killed tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq, and Israel killed almost one thousand Lebanese civilians in 2006 - and this is "terrorist propaganda?" Just because you don't want to face the truth you put a label on it and stash it down the Orwellian memory hole."

As a red-blooded American citizen who lives within a stone’s throw of the Pentagon, I freely admit that terrorism apologeticists such as yourself do make me a bit touchy. Your “incontrovertible fact” of disproportionate deaths still doesn’t legitimize your implicit backing of violence and only serves to prove my original point that your comments only serve to feed the Spiral of Violence between East and West.

---

"Also, I like the finishing touch: I am guilty of "terrorist propaganda" but it is you who wishes "bombing and bloodshed" on "me and my ilk" without knowing who I am or what my "ilk" is.
A fine specimen, exhibit A of the neocon hypocrite, you are."

Unfortunately, unlike the more peace-loving and educated muslim posters on this thread, muslims such as yourself, who implicitly/explicitly support violent means ,will in the end only respect Force. It is sad but true.

NEO:

It should not surprise you, it has become obviously clear that Islam is incompatible with free speech (among other things).

MJA:

"It is an unfortunate occurance that so much death is meted out on both sides in war, however, it is your continued desire to wage it that casts suspicion on your brand of Islam."

Cute. Let's dismiss the vastly disproportionate slate of casualties (more than 100,000 Muslims killed compared to 2,900 American civilians)with blithe declarations about how things are "unfortunate."

Also where did I say I want to wage war? Someone is projecting.

"There have been some very moderate and peace-loving muslims that have posted very intelligent and thought-provoking comments. Your comments have been quite the opposite."

I'm glad we have benevolent people like yourself to sort out the Good Muslims and the Bad Muslims. How does it feel to be God?


"You prefer to feed the Terrorist Propaganda machine with your continued hatred and vitriol. It is you and your ilk, that deserve all the bombing, occupation, and bloodshed your countries experience....both from the US and from your own muslim brethren."

A bit touchy, are we? I point out the incontrovertible fact, confirmed by all major human rights organizations and news agencies, that the U.S. has killed tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq, and Israel killed almost one thousand Lebanese civilians in 2006 - and this is "terrorist propaganda?" Just because you don't want to face the truth you put a label on it and stash it down the Orwellian memory hole.

Also, I like the finishing touch: I am guilty of "terrorist propaganda" but it is you who wishes "bombing and bloodshed" on "me and my ilk" without knowing who I am or what my "ilk" is.

A fine specimen, exhibit A of the neocon hypocrite, you are.

BeowulfthePolitician:

MJA wrote:
"Why, of course, mentioning America's killing of tens of thousands of Muslims in wars - confirmed by any human rights group - is "Hezbollah PR". Just like America's killing of more than a million Vietnamese civilians must have been "Communist PR."


=========================

It is an unfortunate occurance that so much death is meted out on both sides in war, however, it is your continued desire to wage it that casts suspicion on your brand of Islam.

There have been some very moderate and peace-loving muslims that have posted very intelligent and thought-provoking comments. Your comments have been quite the opposite.

You prefer to feed the Terrorist Propaganda machine with your continued hatred and vitriol. It is you and your ilk, that deserve all the bombing, occupation, and bloodshed your countries experience....both from the US and from your own muslim brethren.

Chas:

Allah, please protect me from your followers!

MJA:

Why, of course, mentioning America's killing of tens of thousands of Muslims in wars - confirmed by any human rights group - is "Hezbollah PR". Just like America's killing of more than a million Vietnamese civilians must have been "Communist PR."

Any truth you are too hateful or brainwashed to accept becomes "PR." So the reporters and NGOs and agencies are in a grand conspiracy to invent these death tolls and bodies, right?

Thus it turns out that the conservative Americans, who are supposedly 'enlightened' and 'civilized', are living in denial of the facts and the truth about the very wars they cheerlead.

They can't even allow their malfunctioning brains to process the fact that Bush has killed about 30 times more civilians than bin Laden, making a mockery out of the whole idea of an 'enlightened' or 'superior' West.

BeowulfthePolitician:

MJA sounds like a Hezbollah PR man. He freely contributes to the spiral of violence between East & West.

Personally, I choose to befriend & dialogue with Muslims over shooting them, (every one I've met has been terrific!) but if they are going to implictly threaten American Publishers, I'd rather let my Military do the "talking" instead.

Considering how inept Muslim nations have proven against the US Military, it would be a brief "conversation" to say the least.

MJA:

“Apostate” writes:

“It is not the body count per se that is disturbing the world now”

Well how wonderful, the ‘civilized’ West has bombed out of existence tens of thousands of Muslims in the Iraq War and in Lebanon and Palestine – but this is not “disturbing” to the “world” (meaning: you).

Your self-absorbed narcissism is clear for the “world” to see: never mind that millions of Muslims have been dispossessed and have had their homes and villages destroyed by US and Israeli firepower - such minor details get in the way of a hate-fueled crusade of demonizing Muslims.

I did not know Hitler was Muslim; or Columbus was Muslim; or Westmoreland was Muslim; or Stalin was Muslim; or Bush was Muslim; or Truman was Muslim; or Johnson was Muslim. All these Western, mostly “Christian” men have slaughtered millions of people without any apologies, and yet you blind raging bigots keep attacking Islam.

American attacks on Islam, full of caricatures and outright lies, is no different from the Nazi attacks on Jews.

The Nazis also pretended they were the victims of the Jews even as they slaughtered them - just like Americans, while munching on quadruple cheeseburgers in front of 50” plasma TVs, foam at the mouth about the Islamic “threat” while their military drops bombs on several Muslim countries every single day.

spectator:

Mark in Dayton

How do you, or in fact anyone else, know how old was Aisha when she married Mohammad? The earliest written document about Mohammad is two hundred years after his death. Most of the stories about him are just bunk.

Apostate

Yeah, I got it. The Crusaders' looting and killing was inspired by their religion. Thanks.

Mark in Dayton:

Today it is being reported out of the KSA (the keeper of the two most "holiest" places in islam) that a father cut out the tongue of his daughter and then burnt her alive. Why? Because she converted to Christianity.

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080813063349

When a Muslim tells you islam is the religion of peace and tolerance, when a Muslim tells you there is NO compulsion in religion, when a mulsim tells you Aisha was 14-16 years old when deflowered by Mohammed when in fact she was 9 years old....you might want to question the veracity of the muslim.

Apostate:


Spectator asks me:
“And exactly who were the Crusaders – preachers of peace? What inspired them to loot and kill?”

The Crusades were a clumsy and rather belated response to a long series of encroachments by Islam against the Lands of the Christians, and fighting back should not be considered as tarnishing the defenders' image.
The first Crusade began in 1095… 460 years after the first Christian city was overrun by Muslim armies, 457 years after Jerusalem was conquered by Muslim armies, 453 years after Egypt was taken by Muslim armies, 443 after Muslims first plundered Italy, 427 years after Muslim armies first laid siege to the Christian capital of Constantinople, 380 years after Spain was conquered by Muslim armies, 363 years after France was first attacked by Muslim armies, 249 years after Rome itself was sacked by a Muslim army. It is only after centuries of church burnings, killings, enslavement and forced conversions of Christians that the Christians of Europe finally acted.
This is what inspired them to finally act. Get that?

Lee:

Gee, if Mohammed married a girl when she was only five years old, then I guess he must have known what he meant when he said "There is no compulsion in Islam." Obviously, a five year old girl would be able to freely say "No" to a fifty year old husband, and would suffer no compulsion if she did.
Right.

Observer:

Hesperado wrote:
{Observer wrote:
"This [jizya tax] is exactly why I posit that Islam is incompatible with principles of pluralism and human rights."}

Moi:
This is what I said;

“This is exactly the mentality that sanctioned the Dhimmi laws as spelled out in the Omar Pact cited below. This is exactly why I posit that Islam is incompatible with principles of pluralism and human rights.”

You deliberately omitted the" Dhimmi laws as spelled out in Omar Pact", which had totally changed the meaning. The Jizya is a symptom of something far bigger than a poll tax. The incompatibility could be found in the terms of the Omar Pact cited below.
http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-kills-pact-of-umar.htm

Anonymous: Stop hiding behind anonymous so we can destroy your credibility. That is if you ever had one.

Response:

"Islamic war is defensive and can never be offensive". Yes, Muslims were invited by Hindus in India to come and rule over them, convert them to Islam, create separate nations....

Stop going back to crusades. We are living in the present and worried about the future due to this intolerant "religion of peace and compassion" called Islam which already has 56 exclusive nations.

spectator:

Apostate

And exactly who were the Crusaders – preachers of peace? What inspired them to loot and kill?

Apostate:

MJA says:
"Only a delusional person could say Islam is violent because of a handful of fanatics."

The main point this character missed is that his cult sanctions violence in the name of the "Creator and His Messenger". Those so-called “handful of fanatics” are simply being faithful to the teachings of their religion. It is not the body count per se that is disturbing the world now but the motive behind that violence. This enmity toward the others, especially the West ,predates Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. These are mere excuses. The enmity toward the non-Muslims is an integral part of their belief system. Why the obsession with the USA? Because besides being an “infidel “ country, its is audacious enough to pass on its culture and its ideals on to the world and so is “poisoning the minds of the believers“.

VICTORIA:

Sorry, that last post was mine.

Anonymous:

We only have the word of the author that her book was headed for the best seller's list- and authors are notoriously biased when it comes to opinions about their own worth.
But let's imagine that it was headed there-
With all of this free publicity, can't the author find another publisher?

The Frst Amendment really doesn't give us the right to be published- that is a privilege conferred b to an author by a pusblishing house in hopes that the masses will agree with their assessment.
If it was good enough to be published by Random House- and already had the go-ahead, surely some other hosue will pick it up.

All I have to go by is this paragraph-


"the pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life."

For my tastes, this seems like a bodice ripper.
Maybe Harlequin will pick it up.
It's too bad it's not being published- then it could be critiqued like any other work.

But for now, we only have the word of the author as to its' literary value.

In any case- surely the author will keep writing and we will be able to judge whether or not it really is as compelling as she says it is.

Anonymous:

Quran lays down a basic principle: “ there is no compulsion in religion, verily the right path has (now) become distinct from wrong,” (2:256). The Quran enjoins every Muslim to work for the propagation of his faith by word and deed. But he is asked to : “invite mankind to the way of your Lord, with wisdom and fair preaching and argue with them in the most kind manner” (16:125). A Muslim is not allowed to use force or violent means to achieve his objectives. When Mohammed was appointed the Prophet of Allah only the polytheist lived in Makkah and even Kabah contained idols and images of 360 false deities. And, the only mission of the prophet was to end polytheism and to re-establish Abrahamic monotheism, he did not start his prophetic mission by physically purifying Kabah of these idols, but instead started purifying the hearts of Meccan by noble preaching of Islam i,e, surrender and submission before one and only God, which finally cleared Kabah of these idols after twenty years later.

Mohammed spent his first thirteen years of prophet hood at Makkah against all odds, provocation and worst kinds of oppression. His companions-- the earliest converts to Islam were persecuted, oppressed, dragged on the burning sand, some were brutally murdered in full public view and almost all were subjected to worst kind of physical torture, mental psychological and economical torture. Even the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) was not spared; he was stoned, beaten until his shoes filled with his blood; he was abused, rubbish and filth was often thrown at him by the enemies of Islam it but he never retaliated and instead asked God to forgive his tormentors. Yet, he never allowed his followers to react but asked them to be patient and exhibit perseverance in such hostile circumstances. This tremendous patience made the pagans of Makkah impatient; their hostilities reached the highest level and they finally decided to assassinate the Prophet. Even at this point the companion of the under his command armed confrontation and secretly started migrating to neighbouring city of Yathrib (Madinah) and the Prophet also joined them later. This migration (Hijra) proved a turning point in the history of Islam.

The first task taken by the Prophet in Madinah (even before having a sigh of relief from tiresome Meccan period) was to create and establish an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood unparalleled in the annals of human history. Before the arrival of the Prophet in the Madinah, two tribes ‘ Aus’ and ‘Khazraj’ lived there and two were sworn enemies of each other and fought for supremacy for centuries (blood still dripping from their swords). Prophet brought with him not only a band of pious and righteous companions but also a practical message of affection which sowed the seeds of fraternity and brotherhood between the warring tribes of Aus and Khazraj on the one hand and between the emigrants of Madinah on the other. The Quran sums it up:“and behold fast, all together, unto the bond with God and do not draw apart from one another. And, remember the blessing which God has bestowed upon you: how, when you were enemies, He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessings you became brethren; and (how, when you were on the brink of fiery abyss, he saved you from it”. (3.103)

Enemies of Islam did not allow Prophet and his followers to live in peace in Madinah. Just after one year in peace of their migration, a strong army of one thousand warriors descended upon Madinah to “finish off Islam fro ever”. it was under these extremely hard conditions, when the existence of Islam and Muslims was at stake that under divine command Muslim were ‘allowed’ to fight for the cause of their faith. Even in such trying conditions, they were made to abide by certain laws and regulations, in contrast to the established traditions, “ In war everything is fair”.

“And fight in the cause of Allah against those who wage war against you, but do not transgress the limit, for verily, Allah does not love the transgressors” (2:190).

It was in conformity with the previous relation:
“Permission (to fight)is given to those against whom war is being waged and, verily, God has indeed the power to succour them”. Those who have been driven from their homelands against all rights for no reason than their saying, “Our Sustainer is God”.

This clearly shows that Islamic war is defensive and can not be offensive. According, Muhammed laid down strict rules of war that included prohibitions against the harming civilians, including women, children, elders and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. Many wars were fought between the pagans Makkhans and the Muslim community of medinah. A well known Muslim convert from Britain , Lord Headly Al farooq, while throwing light on these wars says that the geographical locations of the first three battles established that Makkans were the aggressors and the Muslims: Badr: 30 miles medinah (about 220 miles from makkah)
11) Uhud: 12 miles from Madinah (240 miles from Makkah0
111) Khandaq: (or trench) : in this battle Madinah city was circled by the army of confederates.

In certain extraordinary situations even some pre-emptive measures against the hostile enemies of humanity (Nimrods, Pharaohs, Chingezs, Hulagos, Hitler,, Americans, Zionists) bent on destroying peace and inflicting terror and hardship on the innocent human lives become the need of the hour. These measures cannot be considered to disturb the peace but become inevitable to re-establish world order.

Islam being religion of nature even takes care of such situations and may allow certain measures to make it ideological and geographical frontiers secure by subduing the evil and satanic forces bent on destroying the moral, ethical and peaceful fabric of the society.

Since Islam condemns anarchy and subversion, such matters have not been left to the individuals but to the Islamic states to decide. In such circumstances, it becomes necessary to preserve decent values, create just and equitable society where weak and “Permission (to fight)is given to those against whom war is being waged and, verily, God has indeed the power to succour them”. Those who have been driven from their homelands against all rights for no reason than their saying, “Our Sustainer is God”.

This clearly shows that Islamic war is defensive and can not be offensive. According, Muhammed laid down strict rules of war that included prohibitions against the harming civilians, including women, children, elders and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. Many wars were fought between the pagans Makkhans and the Muslim community of medinah. A well known Muslim convert from Britain , Lord Headly Al farooq, while throwing light on these wars says that the geographical locations of the first three battles established that Makkans were the aggressors and the Muslims: Badr: 30 miles medinah (about 220 miles from makkah)
11) Uhud: 12 miles from Madinah (240 miles from Makkah. 111) Khandaq: (or trench) : in this battle Madinah city was circled by the army of confederates.


spectator:

It would have been better if Ms Jones had written a “fictional” novel about God and detailing how He impregnated Virgin Mary with a “scorpion sting”. After all, Ms Jones is a Christian and should explore God’s sexual liaison with “Virgin” Mary and see the reaction of the followers of her faith rather then writing about other faiths and then wait to see the reaction of the followers of other faiths.

MJA:

An addendum: it appears that ignorance cannot recognize ignorance.

The main argument that Islam is violent produced by people here essentially goes like this: "Golly gee, I turn on my American TV and all I see is images of Muslims blowing things up. Clearly, Islam is violent."

Do you think any regime or society on earth has ever highlighted its own crimes or failed to exaggerate the other side's crimes?

Tally up the numbers.

"Muslim" terrorists have killed maybe 4,000 Westerners since 9/11 (and probably more Muslims than Westerners).

American and Israeli state terrorism has killed many times more civilians than that according to any serious study. Iraq was destroyed and turned into a killing field, half of Lebanon was flattened, Palestinians are ethnically cleansed and forced to "exist" in ghettoes, Afghanistan sees a wedding bombed practically every week.

Only a delusional person could say Islam is violent because of a handful of fanatics (once funded by the U.S., by the way), while ignoring the fantastic levels of destruction wrought by U.S. and Israeli firepower.


MJA:

The anti-Muslim hatred, ignorance, and vitriol expressed here in this thread - which in 'polite discourse' many Americans struggle to conceal - provides more than enough insight as to why publishing this book would only foment more hatred of Islam and violent assaults on Muslim countries by America.

Conservative Americans who can never acknowledge the massacres and torture carried out by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, are going to lecture Muslims about being violent? This from the country that incinerated Japan and Vietnam and enslaved blacks in the millions and exterminated the Indians? How amusing.

Along the exact same lines, for these hate-filled, fulminating figures to pretend to have any insight into the prophet's life - wild accusations of molestation and rape - is laughable.

The 7th century is not the 21st century in terms of social norms or lifespans; it is Islam that abolished the practice of female infanticide in Arabia; it is Islam that allowed for divorce which Christianity did not; it is the Old Testament that instructs fathers that they can sell their daughters are slaves (and that, unlike with sons, their would be no limit on the number of years of enslavement).

In other words, everything requires a context. Hateful Americans, whose warped "understanding" of Islam is a product of those Orwellian Two Minute Hate rituals at Fox News, are ignorant of context.

A book like this, regardless of its intentions, would only fuel the hate of malignant Americans who want the government to blow up Muslims with cruise missiles while sitting at their laptops bloviating about Muslim violence.

Hesperado:

Observer wrote:

"This [jizya tax] is exactly why I posit that Islam is incompatible with principles of pluralism and human rights."

A more telling example to adduce is the fact that the O.I.C. (Organization of Islamic Conference), representing all Muslim nations of the world, specifically rejects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) developed in 1948 by the nascent United Nations and in its stead, supports the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights -- a document finalized in 1990, which specifically makes human rights conditional upon Sharia Law:

Let us compare key parts of these two documents:

UDHR: Article 16 (1): Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or RELIGION, have the right to marry and to found a family.

Cairo Declaration: Article 5 (a): The family is the foundation of society, and marriage is the basis of making a family. Men and women have the right to marriage, and no restrictions stemming from race, colour or nationality shall prevent them from exercising this right.

[notice how freedom of "religion" is conspicuously absent from the Cairo Declaration?]

UDHR: Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Cairo Declaration: Article 10: Islam is the religion of true unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of pressure on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to force him to change his religion to another religion or to atheism.

[Remember that according to the most authoritative Hadith (Bukhari) which is part of the Sunnah which 85% of the Muslims of the world use as a basis for Sharia Law, a Muslim who leaves Islam is subject to the death penalty: "Muhammad said, "Baddala deenahu, faqtuluhu" -- if anyone changes his religion, kill him” ( Bukhari, vol. 9, bk. 84, no. 57).]

UDHR: Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Cairo declaration:

Article 19 (d): There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Shari’ah.

Article 22 (a): Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari'ah.

Article 24: All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah.

Article 25: The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.

For more on the O.I.C., see:

http://hesperado.blogspot.com/2008/08/proto-caliphate-oic_06.html

Anonymous:

Observer notes:
Why those who are different than us have to be treated differently is the question.

killing and imprisoning those different from us is cut from the same fabric as the jizyya logic.

my point is that it continues to be practiced albeit in a worse way.

I would rather be red than dead if I was asked...Baathist would have opted for paying $$ than pay with their lives.

Observer: stop pontificating...read books other than your bible.

groucho42:

(was one of the David's, but there are too many.

Rush seems to be doing the usual: Displaying his ignorance. After all, why pick that handle if not to point out he's ignorant.

First, he continues to avoid all discussion about the facts of Islam.

Second, he thinks Rushdie became "famous" for The Satanic Verses. He was already a well known author. All the book did was make people think about religion, a serious problem in Islam. That's why the Ayatollahs wanted him dead.

No Name:

Well considering Mohameds abuse of little girls it's no wonder he is held in such high regard by the male dominated societies of the middle east. They love to demean their women.

No name:

Face it Mohamaed was a child molester probably not unlike David Koresh who used religion to mask his perversion. Please don't kill me muslim peoples...And for those of you who say we shouldn't insult the 1 billion muslims who think its OK to bury someone up to their heads and then throw rocks at them as punishment for adultery.....do you have the same sensibilities when it comes to western religions? How do you feel about Monty Python ridiculing religion. The insults that the Catholic Church or Baptist Churches or Church of England Mormons or even Scientologists have to endure is monumental and yet no one says that they shouldn't be ridiculed or taken to task for the silliness of their rules or "Leaders" If the muslims want to play in the western world they should be prepared to adjust to our sensibilities not the other way around. We are not moving into their countries and making them change their beliefs but that wouldn't be a bad idea especially as it concerns woman who muslim men basically hate on some very primitive level.

BeowulfthePolitician:

Trush Seeker wrote:

"Friday congregation prayers are between Noon and 2pm in any Mosque in the U.S. Call the nearest one to find exact time, go there and listen, its open to public not just for Muslims. I dare you find any that teaches hate, violence...etc."

======================

If I was an Imam normally preaching Anti-American vitriol in the US, and a white American walked into my mosque, I probably wouldn't teach any hate, violence, etc. on that day either, lest the FBI whisk me away to an undisclosed location.

BeowulfthePolitician:

Nadeem wrote:
"You cant mix history with fiction, especially when that piece of fiction insults 1 Billion people the world over!"

=====================

Sure we can. Why? Because we have more nukes than those 1 Billion people combined do. We're the USofA, we can do whatever the heck we want. If you don't like it, TOO BAD.

Crisis:

The power lies in the hands of Western nations, but it is the Muslims who are causing daily death and destruction all over the world. I wonder if we would be alive, here in the U.S., if Muslims had the power today that the U.S. has?

I think al qaeda which has threated to wipe off America until it converts to Islam would really be carried out, if Muslims had the means.

Mark in Dayton:

What is this? Are Muslims and their apologists now saying that Aisha was 14-16 when she was forced to consummate her marriage to Mohammed? The truth is that she was 6 years old when married and 9 years old when deflowered. The earliest and most "authentic" biographers of Mohammed tell us this. It's a disgusting and shameful fact but a fact nonetheless.

Jonathan Sullivan:

Civilized societies do it better. When the Roman Catholic Church had a fit over the recent publication of Charles Webb's "Sex with THE Virgin Mary" did they bomb Amazon.com or The KickAss Press. No, they quietly did what they could to lessen the impact. We cannot be told what to do by terrorists

"Marriage of Choice"?:

Someone brought up a very good point: How can a 6 year old "chose" to marry a 50 plus old man? Likewise why would a ex daughter in law chose to marry Mohamed? And likewise for 8 other women?

Plus he and his co-horts kept harem of women whereever they conquered and massacred civilians.Mo was able to justify everything by saying to his tribe that the arch angel gabrielle told him it is fine. I need an angel like that!

BeowulfthePolitician:

Saqib Khan wrote:

"Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was the most pious, truthful, honest, loving and humble man that has ever lived."

==========================

If Murder, Plundering, & Pilfering is your idea of Piety, then the United States is very Pious in our dealings with Iraq and should be applauded by the entire Muslim world.

BeowulfthePolitician:

Kommon Sense? wrote:

"...However, Sherry Jones needs to realize that portraying a historical, religious not to mention Islamic figure as a fictional character in her chick-lit novel may have been the perfect recipe for a lucrative book deal, it was and still is disrespectful and crass."

===================

I love the condescending tone of muslim defenders on this thread. It always comes off as, "Well don't disrespect our prophet and you won't get threatened."

The great thing about America is that our Freedom of Speech to be "disrespectful and crass" is STILL PROTECTED, regardless of your views.

Perhaps the Satanic Verses' publisher, Penguin, will pick up the copyright and print the book.

"I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."
-Voltaire

BeowulfthePolitician:

Virginia Ace wrote:

"...No one has the freedom to insult sentiments of a Billion people - especially a Billion that take these things very seriously.

Mua wrote:

"...so to publish a novel would obviously be anathema to most Muslims, and perhaps a call to arms for extremists."


===================

I don't know what country YOU guys live in, but here in AMERICA, we have the FREEDOM to question the morality of your prophet. If you endorse the threat of violence, prepare to be smoked out of your spider holes and humbled by the might, muscle, and menace of the US MILITARY.

simple simon:

‘Censoring’ can happen by mutual consent among all media barons as well as by US government under the garb of national security as Ms Jones knows very well. Look how media recently ‘censored’ Edwards’ love affair for a long time by mutual consent and how Bush administration had ‘censored’ 9/11 Commission from pointing to Pakistan as the real culprit of 9/11 attacks under the garb of national security. And Random House is really not ‘censoring’ Ms Jones – Random House is just exercising its right to decide what to publish and what not to publish. I am sure that some other publishing house is going to come forward soon to publish Ms Jones’ book especially since very refusal to publish has generated lot of publicity for ‘The Jewel of Medina’.

Anonymous:

Thug tells me:

"And you've clearly missed the point. Not only was the special tax not immoral, but it was actually a benefit. Since if you were Muslim, you were taxed at a higher rate“.

For non-Muslims in Muslim societies, there was not just jizya, which is double the rate of zakat, but kharaj, the land tax. Tritton in The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects equates the two: "Hafs, another governor of Egypt, announced that all dhimmis who abandoned their religion would be free from kharaj, which is jizya" (pp. 35-6). It is important to remember the two names because while the jizya was generally set at a fixed amount by the jurists (although this was highly adjustable), the kharaj was another matter. In the Hedaya, an Islamic legal manual, in a discussion about the purchase of land by a dhimmi, it declares: "it is lawful to require twice as much of a Zimmee [dhimmi] as of a Mussulman [Muslim], whence it is that, if such an one were to come before the collector with merchandise, twice as much would be exacted of him as of a Mussulman" (Hedaya I.vi).
You and your ilk have no respect for the truth.

Observer:

Anonymous tells me:

"my understanding is that the Baath party, who did not believe like we did in Iraq were killed or imprisoned.
i think they would have liked to pay jyaaia (tax) if they were asked."

Why those who are different than us have to be treated differently is the question. You are in effect saying that non-Muslims living among Muslims should feel fortunate for not being killed or at least imprisoned. This is exactly the mentality that sanctioned the Dhimmi laws as spelled out in the Omar Pact cited below. This is exactly why I posit that Islam is incompatible with principles of pluralism and human rights.

http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-kills-pact-of-umar.htm


Ted Baines:

All non-Muslims can counter this coercion from Muslims and the the lack of courage and principles by helping Ms. Jones to self-publish and be able to sell her book by the billions in English, Arabic, Chinese, Urdu, Russian and in all other languages.

She should make the book available for a very cheap price, $ 5. It should also be published on-line.

Muhammad was murderer, a child molester, a bandit, and a slave owner who kept slave girls for his pleasure.

The world ought to know so that the scourge of Islam can be wiped out from the face of this earth and educating young Muslims is the surest way to remove all vestiges of Islam.

Mansour Islam:

The worst thing Random House did was to rule out the publishing of this book. Nothing encourages fanaticism and intimidation of all Muslims by extremists than the West giving in to the extremists' "sensibilities"! I, as a Muslim, urges Random House to reconsider, remembering Salman Roushdi and recalling what giving in to the fanatics has led tothe gi

Observer:

Patrick asks:
“How many world wars have Muslims started? Which weapon of mass destruction did they create? Genocide?”

They are too backward to build weapons of mass destruction and too week to wage a world war. They tried to wipe out Israel off the surface of the earth, and they would have had they won any of their wars with it. That much they had admitted. The little man of Iran is NOW threatening just that before he even had built a single nuclear bomb.

Latest peace:

3 female aid workers killed in Afghanistan, 18 blown up in Lebanon, Porkistan NW in continous civil war, Palestine Muslims killing each other...

And Muslims bloggers here tell us that Muslims love peace.

US professor:

I write about women in Islam, and have a contract with a major US publisher. This decision scares me. I agree with Hesperado: If a major US publisher makes editorial decisions based out of fear of the mere possibility of a violent act, then the terrorists will have won a much greater victory than just dooming Jewel of the Medina.

Gabrielle:

Sherry just doesn't 'get it'

Dirty kuffrs simply aren't permitted to discuss the alleged 'prophet' -- because then it might start coming out -- how he had sex with a nine year old -- amongst others -- how he sanctioned rape of captured women, how he murdered satirists, poets and critics.. how he tortured a man to find treasure...
Aiysha was widowed at 18 and forbidden to marry again. Where's the 'empowerment' in that?

Hesperado:

Only My Opinion:

"There are millions of toxic nutjobs out there."

Are you referring to just "toxic nutjobs" in a vague, generic sense, or that unique sub-category of toxic nutjobs inspired by the Koran and the Sunnah?

If the former, show me an example of any major book publisher anywhere yanking a book because of a reasonable fear of "toxic nutjobs" in general.

If you meant the latter, then welcome aboard to the grim sanity of real life.

http://hesperado.blogspot.com/

onlymyopinion:

It seems that many of the posts here have more sense than Sherry Jones. There are a few things I find appalling:

1. Sherry Jones calls herself a journalist. Last time I checked, journalists know that the world in its madness does not revolve around our precious freedom of speech; journalists know that the media outlets they work for are consumed with the bottom line; and, that there's more to a story than mere fiction or weaving pretty scenes. Sometimes, we're very responsible for what we put in print. Sometimes, it may mean life or death.

2. that Random House even considered publishing a book - lovely historical fiction or otherwise - that features the prophet Mohammed. Have we not learned anything since 9/11?? If I were at RH, I wouldn't have touched it with the proverbial pole. Why? Because RH has a business to maintain and employees to protect. Call it cowardice or business as usual. There are millions of toxic nutjobs out there. RH knows it. Too bad that's escaped Ms. Jones

3. that Ms. Jones continues to lick her self-righteous (and self-inflicted) wounds by even approaching this powder-keg subject. Again, NUTJOBS! This has nothing to do with being racist, but sheer fact.

4. that Ms. Jones doesn't just try to yank her book from RH and sell/publicize it herself. She should also take great pains to protect herself. Many Muslims know this is just a piece of fiction. However, too many aren't as liberal-minded.

I wish Ms. Jones best of luck in getting her novel published. If all of the concerns posted here come to naught, then we've evolved further than we think, and that would be a GREAT DAY for everyone.

Apostate:

SM says;
“it is off limits to be satirical and make up scenes adding your own imagination when writing about Muslim personalities”.

No imagination can outdo the reality of many of the stories about Aisha. Who could imagine a tale about a six years old little girl being married to a 54 years old man? Or her as a teenager running away with her childhood friend into the desert, and spending a whole night there and Allah intervening to prove her innocence. Or as a young woman inciting a whole tribe to fight her husband’s son in law in a skirmish called the battle of the camel. What imagination can outdo all this?

Anonymous:

Observer,
You ask what would happen if we collect tax on heads of those who do not believe like us!

my understanding is that the Baath party, who did not believe like we did in irag were killed or imprisoned.

i think they would have liked to pay jyaaia (tax) if they were asked.

Hesperado:

Sherry Jones writes:

"Given the respect with which I treat the Muslim prophet, however, I never expected to be killed because of it. I still don't."

And if someone does NOT "treat the Muslim prophet with respect", would that make it okay to kill her or him? Incessantly, for years, comedians on top-rated TV shows in America have been poking fun at Christians, at Catholics, at Jesus, at Moses, even at God Himself. Major artists have put on exhibits that have lasted months, showing the crucifix immersed in urine, the virgin Mary made of elephant dung, etc. No Christians have made it impossible for South Park, or The Simpsons, or Conan O'Brien to continue poking fun at these religious icons. They continue full steam ahead. No Christians suicide-bombed the New York Metropolitan Museum. At the same time, none of these Western comedians and artists dare to make one joke or one work against any religious symbolism of Islam. Now I wonder why that is?

Oh, wait, one artist did. His name was Theo Van Gogh, of Holland. A Muslim named Mohammed Bouyeri, at the directive of an Islamic cell in Holland, hunted Van Gogh down on his bicycle on a pleasant Sunday morning in Amsterdam, shot him, ignored his final pleas for mercy, and began trying to saw his head off with a knife, until a policeman intervened, and the Muslim assailant ran off -- not before pinning a note into Van Gogh's chest with that knife, a note that also issued death threats against Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the Dutch mayor identified as a "Jew" in the note.

This is an insane situation the West is finding itself in, of tiptoeing on eggshells around the Gorilla in the Room, while Muslims are issuing death threats to French teachers (Robert Redekker), Dutch politicians (Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali), Indian novelists (Salman Rushdie), to German philologists (Christoph Luxenburg -- which is not his real name, since Muslim friends told him he should go into hiding for fear of his life, because they knew better than he what their fellow Muslims are capable of); and on and on.

It is a ghastly situation that a trans-national ideology is cowing Westerners with death threats. It becomes grievously farcical when Westerners take it upon themselves to "respect" that bellicose culture and its "prophet".

With Sherry Jones's demonstrable ignorance of the menace of Islam, romanticizing it through the filmy, rosy gauze of an insipid politically correct multi-culturalism, her novel must be a flight of fancy indeed.

http://hesperado.blogspot.com/

Concerned The Christian Now Liberated:

Patrick, Patrick, Patrick,

Fortunately, the days of a Muslim intelligentsia are long gone. Fortunately, the USA intelligentsia continue to be far superior than the rest of the world or we (to include the Islamic nations) would all be doing the "goose step".

Patrick:

How many world wars have Muslims started? Which weapon of mass destruction did they create? Genocide? Of the top ten most prolific mass murderers in history how many were Muslim?

Archmoderate:

"The very fact that you want to mix religion with fiction is laughable".

Religion is a fiction created to promote a primitive political subjugation. I may believe in God, but I will never consent to religion.

Anonymous:

If Random House is not going to show a little courage and conviction in the first amendment, I would suggest we outsource the entire RH operation to Beijing, or Moscow, where they apparently would be more comfortable. And, they can take Spellberg with them.

Observer:

Thug tells anonymous:
“And while you're at it, please provide us with a single example when a non-Muslim was 'put to the sword', as you put it, for failure to pay a tax. Good luck. I am not holding my breath.”

I can’t give you the name and address of everyone who was put to the sword for not paying the inordinately large Jizya tax. I know that at least in Egypt the relatives of deceased persons were forced to pay their taxes before they were allowed to be buried. Egypt was 100% Christian now it is 10% Christian, What happened to the other 90%. They were killed or converted to save their necks.

“And you've clearly missed the point. Not only was the special tax not immoral, but it was actually a benefit. Since if you were Muslim, you were taxed at a higher rate.”

It was immoral because it was designed to humiliate and discriminate and compel people to change their religions. Let us see how you and your ilk would react if we make you pay a head tax.

Concerned The Christian Now Liberated:

Ooops, the last commentary was mine.

Anonymous:

The Real Islam- 101 (no fictional books needed)

Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/ plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" aka "pretty, wingie, talking, thingies" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

This agenda continues as shown by the assassination of Bhutto, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/ mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, and the Filipino “koranics”.

And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

Current crises:

The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

Added reading material- Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography, "Infidel".

An excerpt:

"The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Somalia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feudal mind-set based on tribal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hyprocricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".
p. 347, paperback.

Sam.Marvin:

Reading Saqib Khan and all the other Musselmans on this forum confirms one thing. Your religion has the most magical power to turn nearly a billion into morons, incapable of thinking for themselves. No wonder your men all believe they are going to get 70 virgins and the right to sit by your prophet simply by doing some jihad, like blowing up a bunch of others. Never mind that the dead could include their own kind. I don't know what your jihadi women get in heaven, 70 virgin men all anxious to pounce on each of them? In your heart, you all believe this, and it shows all over this bloggosphere.

Muhamad was loyal to his first wife because she was rich, and he needed her money. If he strayed, she would have given him the boot. He knew that, and he behaved perfectly waiting her out. The moment she died, the guy went into a sexual frenzy, collecting women left and right. Mind you, this was a fifty plus year old man. A sixty year old man 'marrying' a six year old child and his so called 'consummation of his marriage' would land him in jail for life now-a-days in every civilized country. Would any of you out there allow this to your own daughters? I know, I would personally lynch the pedophile if it happened to me.

Islam is full of such morbid events. Yet, you all worship this guy? You come to the western countries, and as soon as you get the Saudi funding, you demand a big mosque, and shariah law shortly thereafter. Finally, the demand is that the rest of us must yield to your primitive customs. Europe is paying the price now, and soon it will be the US. Someone has to say no, never. However, the businesses are already scared of the jihadies. Let the rest of us collectively say NOOOOO to all of you.

vales:

Thug: "And you've clearly missed the point. Not only was the special tax not immoral, but it was actually a benefit. Since if you were Muslim, you were taxed at a higher rate. Christ."


Nice bit of blasphemy there at the end, "Thug."

Very telling of your character and virtues.

eclectic elder:

Does this means that Muslims get to tell the rest of us what to do?
-------------------
No, Americans do.
------------------
Do Muslims intend to enforce their views of the world by force?
---------------------
Do we have to live by Muslim rules even if we do not believe in the authority of this religion?
-------------------------
No, we have to live by American rules even if we do not believe in corporacracy.
---------------------------------
Christianity tried this strategy in Europe resulting in the slaughter of millions and ultimately failing.
--------------------------------
No, Christianity tried this strategy during the CRUSADES in the now called Middle East.
-------------------------------------
Doesn't this behavior on the part of the Muslim population call into question their interest in belonging to a global community?
------------------------------------
What are the fine points of the tenant agreements to belong to "a global community?" And who are the authors of the contracts?
-----------------------------------
Do they really intend to rule the behavior of the global community?
--------------------------------------
No, Europeans and Euroamericans intend to do that.
--------------------------------------
What if the rest of us are unwilling to tolerate this form of oppression?
----------------------------------------
Resist. If your land is encroached upon, bombed, claimed in the name of the King, invaded by pox laden missionaries and oppress you....Resist!!
Cry foul!!

A-any:


was prophet mohammmad from Saudi arabia or from yemen tribe that migrated to saudi arabia?

Phil:

A religion that proclaims submission (that's what islam means doesn't it?) cannot possibly be good. Muslims may argue that it is submission to God, but apparently it is also submission of one's own personal views.

No thanks, I prefer christianity and a secular government. Both are based on free will and personal liberties; the type that ensure my right to read, say, think and do what my consience dictates. Not having to submitt to anything or anybody and freely choose the different aspects of my life is simply priceless.

As far as the book goes, not my cup of tea, but I will buy it just to enrage those who would rather submit it to obscurity just because it doesn't abide by their rules.

Thug:

Anonymous,

Your diatribe is laughable.

First of all, I never described the prophet as peaceful. he fought in battle, wielding a sword and all. If anything, Islam has been built on foundations of justice, not peace. Peace is just a byproduct of justice.

Second, your description of what an empire does is so broad and vague that it's almost impossible to respond to. Empire's do many things. And the Islamic empire did many things, but guess what - standardizing a world view wasn't one of them. If you could please give me an example of where this wasn't true, I would appreciate it.

And while you're at it, please provide us with a single example when a non-Muslim was 'put to the sword', as you put it, for failure to pay a tax. Good luck. I am not holding my breath.

And you've clearly missed the point. Not only was the special tax not immoral, but it was actually a benefit. Since if you were Muslim, you were taxed at a higher rate. Christ.

And finally, your declaration that the number of Jews and Christians in that part of the world was not that large to begin with is so utterly laughable that is almost renders any thought you have on the matter irrelevant. Where do you think Jews and Christians came from? the West? read a book. any book.

And finally, thanks for the jingoistic pro-USA final thought. Learn how to think rationally and argue critically.

Moron.

Sanjeev:

If Islam is so tolerant and compassionate as some people on this forum are saying then how come they are unable to live peacefully with non-Muslims? Why they need 56 exclusive Islamic nations with no significant minorities?

Every day there are reports of Muslim violence from different parts of the world.

SM:

Look, as Muslims we dont just freely make up fictional scenes about our Muslim personalities. If other religions dont mind it then thats fine. and YES and YES again it is off limits to be satirical and make up scenes adding your own imagination when writing about muslim personalities. honestly, leave the writing of Muslims in the past to ppl that respect our religion instead of someone that is so worried about freedom of speech to hurt ppl. there is a certain methodology that is that lead to authentic writing which this lady has not done. leave us alone and leave other religious in other religions alone too. ill be very upset if random house publishes this book. and i am NOT a terrorist.

Luke:

An associate professor at the University of Texas, lol.
Call us again when you get tenure at a real university.

Mofi alKamudi:

of course, i have not seen nor read the fiction of journalist Sherry Jones, Jewel of Medina. however, from the letter of professor Denise A. Spellberg, i clearly understand the dynamic in which "sex and violence" sell books.
but in this instance, there is more! many in the West, particularly the fundamentalist preachers and evangelicals of the hamas orientation, are ready to capitalize on, as will be portrayed in this novel, a prophet marrying a child bride ... together with the now disclosed "sting of the serpent"--ideas which evidently will sell more books galore!
i support free speech, and i supported Rushdi's right to write and publish the satanic verses; but in the current state of affairs, this book would certainly drive the taliban and their allies mad ... really mad!
something to think about ... and something Random House probably thought about rather seriously!
sincerely,
mofi alkamudi

Mofi alKamudi:

of course, i have not seen nor read the fiction of journalist Sherry Jones, Jewel of Medina. however, from the letter of professor Denise A. Spellberg, i clearly understand the dynamic in which "sex and violence" sell books.
but in this instance, there is more! many in the West, particularly the fundamentalist preachers and evangelicals of the hamas orientation, are ready to capitalize on, as will be portrayed in this novel, a prophet marrying a child bride ... together with the now disclosed "sting of the serpent"--ideas which evidently will sell more books galore!
i support free speech, and i supported Rushdi's right to write and publish the satanic verses; but in the current state of affairs, this book would certainly drive the taliban and their allies mad ... really mad!
something to think about ... and something Random House probably thought about rather seriously!
sincerely,
mofi alkamudi

L.Kurt Engelhart:

Sam: ".. and his religion of Islam is the best one among all the other Monotheistic religions .."

Does this means that Muslims get to tell the rest of us what to do? Do Muslims intend to enforce their views of the world by force? Do we have to live by Muslim rules even if we do not believe in the authority of this religion? Christianity tried this strategy in Europe resulting in the slaughter of millions and ultimately failing. Doesn't this behavior on the part of the Muslim population call into question their interest in belonging to a global community? Do they really intend to rule the behavior of the global community? What if the rest of us are unwilling to tolerate this form of oppression?

Trush Seeker:

Friday congregation prayers are between Noon and 2pm in any Mosque in the U.S. Call the nearest one to find exact time, go there and listen, its open to public not just for Muslims.

I dare you find any that teaches hate, violence...etc. I think it would help clear any misconceptions learned from what our biased media, movies, fictional books like this one have spread.

The last prayer I attended actually focused on how to raise your children and listed 16 actions all preached and bonded by the actions of the prophet (pbuh). The first one was to tell your child that you Love him/her. I really wish you would attend, I am sure you will learn something usefull.

Gil Franco:

Interesting that the Post is so offended by this Random House decision. I don't recall it publishing the Muhammad cartoons in any of its stories about that controversy. Why not?

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Saqib Khan says:

“When he died, he did not have one penny or owned a brick to give in inheritance”
Moi:
He owned among other things huge tracts of palm groves from around Khaibar and Medina that he had expropriated from the Jews of Arabia. It is true that the Caliph Abu Bakr would not pass on that inheritance to Fatima, the prophet’s daughter, but his successor Omar ibn el Khattab, reverted that property to her.

“But the prophet remained devoted to his only wife for twenty-five years“
Moi;
Yes, because she was rich and she was supporting him. The minute she died he began to collect women very much like some people collect stamps or coins.

“His marriages were to cement relations, build bridges with other tribes and to support widows.”
Moi;
How about Zainab bint Jahsh who was his daughter in law? Did he cement his relation with his son by marrying his wife? Or Saffiya bint Huyay, the 17 years old Jewish girl? The prophet killed both her father and husband and raped her during that same afternoon. Does that go under the heading of supporting widows? etc. etc.

“At the end of his, he was the ruler of whole of the Saudi Arabia, Yemen and parts of Syria and Palestine but lived on his meager salary in a small rented house with no servants.”
Moi:
What became of all the loot that his followers gathered from the defeated people? Was he not supposed to get half of all that loot?

“I often feel so sad when people with malice and prejudice in hearts attack Islam without knowing or learning its true message of love, peace and harmony.”
Moi:
You are insulting the readers’ knowledge and intelligence. “Fight those who do not believe….”. Is that your idea of peace and harmony?

Muscat Friend:

From what i know about Prophet Mohammed, he would probably enjoy Ms. Jones' book. He seemed like an open, wise mortal man, who defended women and other religions, and who had none of modern day's Victorian hangups about sex, as long as it is between married couples.

You know who this book would upset? The radical Islamists and Al Qaeda types, who pervert the Quran to condemn women and silence free speech.

Oh, and add Ms. Spellberg to that category. What an arrogant person. She played very savvily on post-9-11 trauma and stereotypes of violent muslims to silence Ms. Spellberg, for whatever reason.

A shameful moment for Random House, indeed.

JanD:

The last world war will be against Arabs. They lose.

Shane:

To Rizwan Ahmed:

LOL, India! Stick to the Holy Bible and a little less Internet. There is no "Quran" as you seem to believe. There is nothing linking the Quran you have today with anything the came out of Mohammed's mouth and the only reason you even have ONE instead of many different ones is that Othman burned all Quranic texts except his own.

Concerned in Kabul :

Thanks Jack Fairweather for highlighting this incredibly important issue of free speech.

Dear Ms. Jones: I am outraged at Random House's decision to pull your book. Ms. Spellberg engaged in the worst kind of fear mongering and Mcarthyism. The ease with which she scared Random House into silence sends shivers down my spine.

She is free to express her criticism of the content of your book-- but she crossed a major line in, essentially, threatening Random House with the threat of a terrorist attack. Is this all it takes, now, to silence the voices of those with whom one disagrees? Does Ms. Spellberg have any idea of the types of people she is emboldening in her act?

I have not read your book, and i would like too. But I defend your right to say what you said, whether I ultimately find it insightful or not.

And I deeply question Ms. Spellberg motives ie her concern for 'national security.' Professional jealous, more likely.

This is clearly a victory for terrorists everywhere-- well done Random House!

Ms. Jones, good luck getting your book published. I will certainly buy it.

Anonymous:

Thug,
What does an empire bring and impose if not how it views the world? and again I ask why would so-called prophet be called "peaceful" if he takes a beligerent initiative to create an "empire". As far as the tax issue goes, I wouldn't say that it was inmoral to collect a tax from non muslims, but definitely to put them to the sword if they refused to pay them. As far as welfare is concerned, it must still be great because you are all here now.

By the way the number of Christians and Jews living in those parts of world was never big and in the last one hundred years it has decreased significantly due to religious persecution, which cannot be denied.

Cheers Thug, I hope you are enjoying the US and also hope you don't find our taxes too immoral. One thing is for sure, no Jizya required from non-muslims around these parts of the world.


Anonymous:

Ironic that poster Rizwan Ahmed would try to use logic and reason to prove the validity, or divinity, of Muhammad. Another example of believers misusing and misunderstanding the language of secularists in a vain attempt to express their convoluted dogma.

Sam:

I dont get it .. y wud a CHRISTIAN guy start to write about Aisha the wife of Prophet Muhammad ? i dont get that ? dont thet have anything better to do other then Bashing against Islam and the last and final messenger Muhammad SWAS ? ...

What ever the case is .. Prophet Muhammad is no wonder on of the greatest person who lived in the face of the Earth .. there was not another person who was so much devoted towards God .. and his religion of Islam is the best one among all the other Monotheistic religions .. and right now its even bigger then the Roman Catholics .. so its the worlds largest Denomination although Christianity came 600 years before Islam .. There was not another person in the history of Religion who was a successful as him in bringing the whole Arabian peninsula in the name of under one true God .. And right now his teachings are being followed by almost 1.5 billion muslims throughout the world .. He is the most successful man to show mankind the greatest universal brotherhood by worshiping the one True God .. that is why each and every muslims still confess in their heart that , There is no other God but one true God Allah and that Prophet Muhammad was the final messenger of Allah .. May peace and blessings be upon him and all of u .. thanking for reading : ) .. take care n May peace be unto you : )...

Thug:

Dean,

You're hilariously misinformed. While the empire did expand through conquest, the religion did not. That's why to this day you have Jews in Iran and Christians throughout the Arab world.

And as for the special tax on non-Muslims. yes, that's true. But even that you are misrepresenting. Muslims are religiously obligated to pay a portion of their earning to their communities in the form of a tax, called the zakat. Because it would be immoral to tax non-Muslims zakat, the special tax was imposed upon them, known as jizya. The jizya tax was, in fact, less than the zakat. So if you were a non-Muslim living in a Muslim land, you got the same access to welfare and the like, but got to pay less for it than the muslims did.

Moron.

Rizwan Ahmed:

To Shane,

For your information. Hadrat Jesus (Peace be upon him) died and is burried in Khan-yar, Srinagar in the beautifull valey of Kashmir, Inida. Just do a google search and you will find plenty of authentic material and books on this subject. His resting place is famous as Roza-bal.

Who is spiritually alive; Most rational and logical answer is "the one whose message has survived un-interuppted and unchanged through passage of time". For any knowlegeable person answer is clear; This distinction has been placed on Hadart Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) by no other then God. Exhibit of this is Quran, whereas Bible has gone through modifications.

Even the language that Jesus spoke is dead and no one knows in which language Bible was originally written. Whereas Arabic is still alive.

Nadeem:

The very fact that you want to mix religion with fiction is laughable. And this has nothing to do with Islam. In India, Muslims and Christians were at the forefront on banning Da Vinci code. You cant mix history with fiction, especially when that piece of fiction insults 1 Billion people the world over!

Shane:

The problem with the "Prophet" Mohammed is that he is DEAD, just like the rest of the man-made prophets and creators of false religion. The LORD JESUS CHRIST rose from the dead of His own power and ascended into heaven. These other fools will be raised by the Lord when He is ready to judge them and cast them into the lake of fire.

Why do people always claim their speech isn't free when others won't publish or listen to what they have to say? Go to Cuba, China or Saudi Arabia if you want to make such a complaint and see what it means to not have freedom of speech.

If I send Jones a story and she won't place it in her article is she denying me free speech? Free speech means the government can't stop you; no one has to help.

Umm Wijdan, LIbya:

Although I do sympathize with Ms.Jones, I think she will eventually find a way around this. As a Muslim I've read many books (fiction) that portray Muslims/Christians/Jews in a very negative way. But on the other hand I've also read many books that portray them in a positive way. It's up to the readers to make up their own minds about a story's impact.It is only by learning about other cultures, accepting, and appreciating them as equal partners on this earth that we may manage one day to achieve mutual respect and peace for all. True, we have a problem as Muslims regarding violence: that it is acceptable. But when is it acceptable in the Qur'an? Only in self-defense.And when 'the transgressors' desist, Muslims must also desist. But the whole culture of tribal warfare still exists in many Arab minds, sadly enough, encouraged by centuries of corrupt princes, kings and emperors (the Ottomans) who taught Muslims that they had a holy obligation to fight for them and die martyrs.

Nadeem:

Idoloator:

I suggest that you re-read the actual history. Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) did not seek to marry Aisha (RA). Her father Umar Bakr Siddique (RA) proposed the wedding.

Oh btw, which historians are you quoting? Some neocons with an agenda to spread malice arent called historians!

Normadesmond:

Agree with J. Who cares about Muhammed, his many wives or Islam. Be gone.

Mary:

Many of the respondents have a misunderstanding of historical fiction. I have published five historical fiction novels and hope to have some insight: history is the background (the set) and the characters are the actors (the plot). Historical fiction is a short cut for readers. It introduces them to history but they don't have to do heavy research. I believe RH was wrong and some of the "religious" reactions herein are shocking. I do hope the author has a good contract. The frothing Muslims should go back to reading whatever "art" they have. The punishment for religious censorship is death to creativity.

j:

While it is troubling to see Random House apparently cower to Islamic radicals, I, on the other hand, shed no tears for the killing of a book that seeks to glorify Muhammad and his child-bride. Aisha's contributions to Sharia law, like the law itself, are not praiseworthy.

What we need is more books about secularism, not the same deluded romancing of ancient superstitions.

Hala, UT Alum:

Re: Joel Roache's comment: "Freedom of expression belongs exclusively to those who own the press." No one is stopping Jones from printing the book with her own money and publishing it. She could always put it up on Craig's list or Amazon and sell it and then the world over would have the ability to be enlightened by what Dr. Spellberg aptly phrased "soft core pornography". But then her self-proclaimed "work of art" may not have an 8 US-city tour or be translated into 7 languages. Sadly, I think Jones is more interested in the fame than the principle. What you need to understand is that those who own private publishing companies, such as Random House, have NO obligation to print or publish anything. The first amendment is guanteed by the govenment, not Random House. Get your rights straight.

To anyone else whose reading this: Dr. Spellberg is not just an intelligent and well-respected historian, but she is an EXPERT in this field. She has also read Jones fiction, which none of us on this thread have. Personally, I think it is stupid to give an opinion of someone else's opinion; to a certain extent, we start playing the children's game of 'telephone'. Regardless, this whole issue is being over-dramatized. Jones has no credible background except as a journalist, and we all know how credible they are. Whereas Dr. Spellberg has written books on the same topic that have gotten published, given talks and seminars on it, researched it extensively and is determined to see it be treated with a respect worthy of her experience. To all thinking individuals out there, whose word has more weight in your personal court of opinions?

Tim:

Fiction is rampant already in the story of Mohammed and there are plenty of fictional writings that they already not only read but worship. One more fictionalize writing about Mohammed and his wives would be like a drop in the bucket when you consider the whole of fictional books and such that surrounds the story of Mohammed.

Crusader:

I guess there is no freedom of speech here on WaPo unless of course you're slamming the US as somali has done any number of times.

I seem to remember him/her/it saying how he hates Americans and would love to see us dead.

What about it WaPo?

What a crock.

ISA:

All the Ibrihim based religions are peaceful..

Except when MEN and WOMEN who decide to wage war or Hate against another in the name of their one god under the auspices of a religion.

ISA

VK:

Rory,

"This is the world under Islam".
Your comment is absolutely on target. Most people who comment here have never really attempted to read the scriptures of Islam. Which you clearly have, as I have; and we seem to have reached the same conclusion. Islam was as intolerant at the time of its founder, why should we believe that it is going to evolve into anything different.

Dean:

Hey Saqib khan, tell us how he became the "ruler" of "Saudi Arabia, Yemen and parts of Syria and Palestine". It was through war wasn't it? What kind of peaceful prophet attacks other people's lands.

Also wasn't it his decree that if people in conquered lands did not convert to Islam they were to pay a special tax? and that if they did not pay the tax they were to be put to the sword? It is also in the koran isn't it.

Peaceful, tolerant religion? I think not.

DCTrk:

I commend Random House for their thoroughness, consideration and sensitivity for possible misinterpretions that may offend Muslims.

This seems like a element of fiction with need for negative conotations to make it interesting to the average Western mind.

Since the establisment of Islam, the Chistian world is hellbent on attacking everything that is different then their own. They generally have very little respect for Christianity and Jesus
Christ as a majority of this defamation is by so called "Christians" themsleves.

Again, the professionalism and respect shown by Random House is truely appreciated by the Muslim community. This was a very competent and responsible decision. Thank you.

Saqib khan:

Prophet Mohammeds (pbuh) first wife was fifteen years older than him and a widow with children and they remained married for fifteen years, and only after her death that the Prophet married other wives of whom seven were also widows (some with orphans) and only three of them were young women. He wanted to show to the world that in Islam widows, orphans and slaves women should be given respect and justice and not shunned and he was the shinning example in doing so.

Now, it is obvious that if the prophet was after physical he did not have to wait until he was more than fifty years old to start marrying more wives. He lived in a society in which it was quite acceptable to have many wives. But the prophet remained devoted to his only wife for twenty-five years. When she died she was sixty-five years old.

His later marriages were for various reasons. Some marriages were with the view to help the women whose husbands had been killed while they were defending their faith. Others were with a view to cement relationships with devoted followers like Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. Yet others were to build bridges with various tribes who were otherwise at war with the Muslims. When the prophet became their relative through marriage, their hostilities calmed down, and much bloodshed was averted.

May, I point that majority of the Biblical Prophets married multitudes of wives and few were involved in incest, and one of them had illegitimate children from his daughter. David , Moses married many times and also had many concubines. Solomon had over 250 along with hundred of concubines and he was a very lustful man. In the Hindu religious book one of their deities, Drupati was married to five Pandus who were real brothers and never knew the father of her children because DNA test was invented. She had a terrific stamina and strength!

Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was the most pious, truthful, honest, loving and humble man that has ever lived. At the end of his, he was the ruler of whole of the Saudi Arabia, Yemen and parts of Syria and Palestine but lived on his meagre salary in a small rented house with no servants, helped his wives with domestic chores, never knew if he would have food to eat in the next meal because he was so charitable that if a guest or a hungry man visited his house, he would feed them first and felt content whatever was left and often went hungry.

When he died, he did not have one penny or owned a brick to give in inheritance. I often feel so sad when people with malice and prejudice in hearts attack Islam without knowing or learning its true message of love, peace and harmony, which Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) conveyed to the mankind.


ZZim:

Somali said: "This wonan is a SHALLOW FAME seeker. She has NOO regard for the feelings of Muslims. "

That is correct. However, we Americans have found that if we allow freedom of speech, then that means everbody. Including shallow fame seekers. If the Islamic world had freedom of speech, they would be better off overall, even if they had to learn how to tolerate "shallow fame seekers".

And why should she have regard for the feelings of Muslims? What is her obligation to you?

vales:

Of course they publish the anti_Catholic, conspiratorial Da Vinci Code.

Attack Christians with vile, stereotyping "literature"? Of course!

Attack anyone else? Not PC.....

A-syn:

Somali,

your ideas remind me of what death is all about.

people want to live, ie, not listen to your demented words mistaken for ideas.

Lucky:

Strangely enough, Rushdie (incl. Satanic Verses) is published by Random House!

Renard Frelles:

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black: EVERYTHING about Islam is censored. EVERYTHING. As in EVERYTHING.

Rush:

There is a cheap way to get famous and rich:
just write a book like bashing Muhammad as Rushdie did!

I do not know how many people read Satanic Verses; but this is a book you can find in the street corner in India written by a village porn artist. I read Satanic Verses, the metaphoric characters (ie, voda - a rural slang for vegina, chamcha, etc) are used by low-class people in far east Asia. The book is destasteable, I did not find it literary amusing.

It may enraged Ayatollahs, but, Rushdie made fame out of sheer idiocy!

V:

Hey Somali, it is people like you that makes this type of forum possible. Thanks.

If you don't like the "LIE" of freedom of speech, I suggest you pack your bags and leave since this country is clearly not up to your standards.

IW:

I remember the controversy around Dan Brown's book by committed Christians and frankly it's good that they stood up against it, if that's what they believed. But clearly, publishers don't have an issue with it because the vast majority of Christians are non-practicing and the practicing ones are ignored/silenced or just used to being abused by non-Christians.

Freedom of speech is just something behind which writers who want to spread hate hide behind.

Somali:

The Terrorist They Call "president" Is The Enemy Of HUmanity!!


This is NOT about "freedom of speech" or some other fictional "human rigt" or whatever. "Free speech" DOES NOT EXIST, even in the west. It is FICTION. This stinking LIE about "free speech" is pulled out of the hat by the jews who run the "media" every time they have a need to assault some culture, counrty or religion.

This woman is an agent of these people who HATE Muslims. We Muslims are NOT stupid. We have resisted the idea of TEMPERING with our BELIEFS and our religion's core tenets because it is leads to LIES and FICTION. Where do you stop once you start this spiral?

Look what happened to the image of jesus. The fools who believe in the garbage about the non-existent free speech have been using the image of jesus in the garbage that the white man calls "art" and what happened after this spiral? So-called "artists" have been trying to outdo each other in a contest of who would come up with the most OUTRAGEOUS image "art" of jesus!!

What happened next? The inevitable, the DESCECRATION of jesus as TRUTH. The nadir of this spiral was when someone, an "artist" URINATED in a BOTTLE into which the image of jesus was inserted as "art."

jesus in URINE? how did this GREAT disdrespect happen?

You ask yourself that you stupid, dumb believer in the FICTION called "FREE SPEECH!!""

This wonan is a SHALLOW FAME seeker. She has NOO regard for the feelings of Muslims. She is CRYING here her CROCODILE tears and the ONLY reason she is foaming at the mouth is NOT because her "book" was not published, but because she was DENIED to make a lot of MONEY and FAME for herself!!!!!

IW:

And furthermore, what the author has done is a "fictionalized" version of the Prophet and Aisha's life. The Muslim community, or any other faith community that holds certain persons dear, are astounded why fictionalization of the scared has to occur, and why now in particular when the situation for them is difficult. In addition, historical books are welcome if there is proof, but fiction that sexualizes the sacred - something that is considered essentially private in Islam - is unacceptable. That said, she has the right to print it/blog it or find another publisher. Clearly Random House has realized it's not worth the controversy and losing their readership over such tripe.

IW:

Aisha was not 9 when she consummated her marriage with the Prophet. Please revisit your sources because essential work done within the hadith in the Muslim world have pegged her age at around 14-16 years of age for consummation, even if her verbal bethrotal was earlier.

Al in IL:

Random House like all other PRIVATE companies is in the business to make money. Capitalism at its best. There are others. Never take NO for an answer no matter when it appears. Find another publisher regardless of how long it takes. Someone will publish your work. Maybe a university press since it is a work of literary fiction. Publish it yourself if all else fails. The world certainly needs more literature about true Islam not less. I would buy a copy!

David:

rush (August 12, 2008 1:00 PM) shows the same ignorance of Islam he claims is an American problem. The Koran, Hadith and Sharia are core to the religion and are very clear about violence in the name of Islam being good. Most Muslims around the World continue to support it and the key concept of jihad that runs through all three.

Meanwhile, recent polls of both UK and US Muslim students, supposed knowledgeable about their religion, continue to strongly support violence in the name of Islam.

There are real moderates (by the Western definition of that word) Muslims, but they're a tiny minority scared of speaking out, least they be labeled apostates and killed.

Jonathan:

Don't be too mean to Random House! They publish the awesome, admirable Dave Barry!

journeyer58:

I sense the stench of an abiding and unnecessary fear, the kind that "self-censors" any kind of unsavory and insulting viewpoint.
It is to cry, that RH has self-censored their list of books. Ms. Jones, had the intestinal fortitude to write a fictionalized account of what it must have been like for a 9 year old, child bride to experience the sexual act.
For this book not to be published by Random House, is a shame and worse, a crime against the rights of those who do not hold to the ideal of self-censorship because of "religious or moral convictions."
The person that has been wronged is Ms. Jones. She has encountered the ugly and seriously acute side of not offending religious sensibility.
I would like to offer my condolences to Ms. Jones for the wrong-headed thinking of those in charge at Random House, they are the ones living in fear of those who are the "Far Right Wing Fundamentalist," Islamists.
Islam is the way of peace, not the fire-brand religion of the Osama bin Laden's. I have many friends among the people of Islam and they are open-minded and without prejudice in regards to fiction. They see fiction for what it is, non-reality, something made up and not true. The only ones who might be offended are those for whom Islam, is not a way of life, but a way of rules that must be followed, to the letter. I am personally ashamed at the lack of courage at the Random House Publishing Company. Should I find that Random House is publishing a book that I want, I will certainly boycott the purchase of that book, because I cannot stand someone or some thing that does not hold to the ideal of courage in the face of extremism.

Krazijoe:

Meh...Many books are not published, just be glad someone gave you a forum to try to paint your spurning in a bad light. There is no censorship here, there is no 1st amendment infringement, there is only a company deciding not to publish a book it did not like.
Peddle it to someone else and be done with it.

Rahul:

Morgan, DC guy- You are saying it is racism on the part of Americans that is the problem: And not the intolerance and violence among Muslims?

Really? Then I would much rather prefer American "racists" than "compassionate and tolerant" Muslims (from the land of prophet) who spread their love for us by hijacking commercial planes and try to blow up hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The intolerance and violence is widespread among all Muslims and not confined to "radicals" only.

Why 56 intolerant Islamic nations? Why poor treatment of women and non-Muslims in their countries? Why daily violence? A gallup survey right after 9/11 had 85% approval rating for bin laden among Muslim nations.

Rush:

Everyone has right to speak the truth. Writing fiction with sex and violence, defintely appealing. Most Americans do not know the true nature of Islam, as stated by Pew Research. Only thing Americans know about Islam and their prophet is 'violence'.

Common sense should prevail; Islam has 1.2 billion followers; siphoning them on the same glare is just distortion of truth. But, all these was done in the name of freedom, freedom as defined by you?

Ms Jones evoke freedom of free thinking; but in the disguise of scorpion to sting other's faith.

Criticism is acceptable; but, we should not bow to falsification, not in the name of freedom! Ms Jones, you are no exception!!


NoOneImportant:

Don't wash your dirty laundry in public.

Not paying for a product is not censorship, and the mis-use of this hot-button word to draw attention to this contractual squabble is a transparent attempt to gain public sympathy.

The people with the money made a business decision. Now the artist needs to make one as well: market the product looking for another buyer, or work for another commission.

Mark C.:

I suppose it is not possible that the free press and exposure here, and the controversy this discussion generates, will not draw attention to an otherwise lost in the malaise book that would never sell as many copies without it.

Ms. Spellberg, Ms. Jones and Random House did a nice job of marketing a book they don't intend to publish. The answer to all of this is yet to be discovered. But something tells me that if it is a work of art, the paradigm shift is in the intentions.

Great artists are now putting their work in the public domain and making a living from personal appearances and sequels.

Average artists need a publisher to market to the masses.

The swarthy exploit the masses for their own gain and the others detriment i.e.... consumption of high fructose corn sweetner...

Good luck,
Which one are you?

Sounds to me by the accolades you mentioned with your destiny Ms. Jones, already attained in your own imagination... that I know the last chapter in this story already....

Kenneth:

Virginian Ace wrote:

"No one has the freedom to insult sentiments of a Billion people".

You're about as wrong as a person can get, a person has EVERY right to insult a billion people, especially when their views are stupid and untrue.

If you're from the United States, I'm ashamed to be from the same country as you. I wish you and the your family the worst.

Kommon Sense?:

Interesting! My 2 cents -

As a person who is all for freedom of speech, I am also someone who is all for common sense. In no way am I conservative, religious or (insert whatever word you deem fit).

However, Sherry Jones needs to realize that portraying a historical, religious not to mention Islamic figure as a fictional character in her chick-lit novel may have been the perfect recipe for a lucrative book deal, it was and still is disrespectful and crass.

If Spellberg was asked for feedback, it was done for a reason. I also think the media is focusing too much on the "sexual" aspect of it when in reality its just disrespectful to fictionalize an actual person that means so much to an entire religion.

Random House is a publishing house that has a right to reject and terminate a contract as they feel. You dont see other rejected writers making a huge fuss about it?

In the end, I have one question for Sherry? Do yor care more about what you write or what controversy and media hype it ensues and provokes. If its the latter - which it seems to me - then you already got what you wanted, but please dont call your work literature.

Virginian ace:

Hurrah! Another Rushdie.
Just be provocative enough to enrage the Muslims and any piece of crap will sell in Millions -bought by "supporters" of Free Speech who actually are disguised Islamophobes and mesoislamists.
No one has the freedom to insult sentiments of a Billion people - especially a Billion that take these things very seriously.
If you want to read about Aisha there are tons of books (probably) about her life which due to the fact that she was a wife of Mohammed was recorded in great detail and veracity.

Babs:

Yes,DGM is right: "it was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (PBUH) that was the Prophet's (PBUH) favorite wife."

Random House made the correct decision.It is so not worth getting itself into controversy over a "Mills and Boon" romance novel.

Sherry Jones picked an excellent topic to write on. She will be (in)famous in no time at all--as Im sure her work will be exploited as fodder by "Islamists" and "True Muslims" in their so called quest to defend Islam againts the non-believers.

It is a shame that todays "True Muslims" concern themselves with blowing up non-Muslims instead of inviting them to learn about Islam. But then todays "True Muslims" donot know much about Islam at all, thats why its easier to blow people up than to rebuttal. Just as it is easier to hit an errant child than to explain what he/she did wrong.

Stephen:

As a member of the National Book Critics Circle I will no longer review books by Random House.

Instead, I will choose books published by presses that honor our First Amendment and presses that do not tremble in the face of controversy.

patrick:

"Censor: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable ; also : to suppress or delete as objectionable
-- Merriam-Webster Dictionary

So where is 'government exercise of state power' specified in the definition of censorship?

MUA:

Has anyone bothered to read Spellberg’s take on the issue? She is bringing up some real concerns that everyone else in the name of free speech are recklessly overlooking. As for biographies of the Prophet Muhammad, there are tons of them, in classical Islamic literature it is termed Seerah. But it should be noted that Muslims have a very strict methodology of authenticating reports on the Prophet’s life (in fact many of the reports of early historians are criticized due to defects in the sanad or chain of transmission), an entire complex discipline was created in order to determine the veracity of statements about the Prophet and his companions lives, so to publish a novel would obviously be anathema to most Muslims, and perhaps a call to arms for extremists. Especially in an age where adherents of Islam feel under siege, to publish a fictional work involving some of the most beloved personalities to Muslims, is to further marginalize them and test a patience that has run out. There is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech, we all must concede that there are limits to freedom of speech, to fictionalize religious personalities and fabricate sexual experiences should definitely be off limits for adherents of all religions.

LA:

Ms. Jones-Please post your novel on the web. I am very interested in reading it. I think posting on the web will spark a curiousity to learn more about Muhammed, even if you are not Muslim. I definitely plan on looking up what I can find about not only Aisha but Khadijah as well.

Ms. Jones is not the first person to take liberty w/historical events/figures. Look at the movie "Alexander" or "The Last Temptation of Christ". Also the show "The Tudors" takes much liberty w/facts.

I think the racism Ms. Jones refers to is the excuse of potential threats. It is assumed there will be threats because these days when many people hear Muslim/Islam they immediately think terrorist. Sad but true.

rhadams:

Hold one moment. Don't make such sweeping statements like: "Random House's assault on our freedoms."

RH is a private company and thus needs to consider it's bottom line first and foremost. RH is not stopping the author from publishing her book - and she ought to. RH is not the only publishing house available; indeed, no publishing house is even needed in this day and age. So I agree that she should have the right to publish her book, but then again, nobody is stopping her. I don't understand the hoopla.

zaranda:

Nothing is likely to so enrage and depress than Not getting published. Whether a Big Deal defaulted after all due agenting, cossetting, lawyering, or simple receipt of a pre-printed "Sorry, not for us", being turned aside is understandably hurtful. But, really, Ms Jones, must we hear yet again the clanging of the Free Speech tocsin? The cry that, because MY WORK, has for one reason or another been rejected, it bodes an Universal Reverberance, and the Republic is in Peril!!. We feel your chagrin and devastation; RH may indeed be slithering rats, but it appears, in essence, to have been a business decision, a weighing of general sales down-turns in Tehran bookeries, bricks-thru-windows, editors waylaid in parking structures, The Fire This Time, against your doubtless brilliant concoction.

(If your "Rise up!" peroration is a fair sample of your output, it is easy to see how sorely we've been deprived.)

Bill Mosby:

RUSS:

That WAS Colbert's humorous take on Islam. Sometimes you have to use idirect indirective indirection to get a point across without taking direct fire.

Bill Mosby:

"Does this development mean our public universities no longer support the free exchange of ideas?"

Is this a rhetorical question? Or are you just surprised that YOUR ideas have been put in the lockbox?

Russ:

While I do agree with the several comments that state that it is not censorship for a for profit company to not publish the book I do find the whole thing disconcerting because it seems to be a trend of walking on egg shells when it comes to Muslims.

I recently listened to Stephen Colbert’s book on CD during my commute. There is a section where he pokes fun at religion. He has a self deprecating look at Catholism (which he claims to be). He then goes on rant about Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Hindus, Mormons, Scienctogists, Judaism, and Buddhism. The things he says are funny and I could see how if you were devout offensive. What bothered me most is that when he got to Islam he just recited the little pray about the prophet that one would speak to become a Muslim then said...moving on. He didn't make even one benign joke about it. What I'm getting at is, are all religions fodder for humor and satire except Islam? Is even a fictional account of a historic figure off limits unless it only praises? I'm not sure who...but someone needs to get a grip.

Anonymous:

SA,

prophet stayed with Khadyyja because she had the power of the purse.

Dave:

RH has paid for the rights to control the publishing of Ms. Jones book. She will likely need to be freed from her contract by RH to get the book published in any form.

I don't know why some posts are stuck on the notion that censorship is only a government activity. Censorhip has many forms all the way down to a author self censoring their work. Getting stuck on the definition is to distract from the issue.

Ms. Jones does not have a right to be published; neither does RH have the obligation to enter into a contract for the rights to Ms. Jones' book. They did so freely. The book seems poised to be successful. I don't question the rights of either party to do what they are doing.

It is clearly sad for Ms. Jones to not see five years of work come to fruition. It is dissapointing that we, the readers, will not have the option to read this work. And it suggests a stain on RH for being cowardly. I imagine other writers pushing new ideas may want to take long looks at RH offers, themselves not wanting to be in Ms. Jones' situation after five years of work.

Anonymous:


Denise Spellberg is not a good Muslim

Richard Jarvis:

We need to know more about this "university professor," Denise Spellberg, and what her true motives might be. Not liking the book or its "sexual content" are valid reasons not to endorse the book, but not to threaten lawsuits or campaign for banning it.

Do your job, Washington Post, and give us the full story. (At least try to interview this so-called professor.) By the way, Spellberg compares this book to "Satanic Verses," which WAS published by a major bookmill.

SA:

I believe in the freedom of the press & wouldn't have a problem with the book being published. However, it does sound like the author has her own slant on things. Curious that she picked to write a romantic novel on the Islamic Prophet, as opposed to Messengers of other faiths.

Aisha, as a matter of well-documented fact, was not the favorite wife of the Islamic Prophet. He was married to Khadijah for the longest period of time, during which I believe he had no other wives. It was only after her death that he had other wives, including Aisha.

And Khadijah was not only NOT a child bride, but she was a well-respected businesswoman in her own right.

Aisha is linked to the Sunni sect & is not looked upon very favorably by Shia, due to her family's historic role in the transfer of power after the Prophet's death. Khadijah is revered by all.

Anonymous:

I can't make a judgement on the novel, because obviously I haven't read it, but I was a former student of Dr. Spellberg and wanted to write in defense of her. She's an expert in Middle Eastern history and one of the best professors at UT in that department. Her approach to teaching about Middle Eastern cultures is to teach it from the perspective to the people there to truely understand it. I learned more from her classes than any other ME prof.

Wakka Wakka:

This is hardly the first time I've noticed a historian balk profusely at a work of historical fiction taking some liberties with the way things actually happened. Even relatively unimportant things, like when historians/archaeologists were angered by the mixing of eras of Aztec and/or Mayan artwork in the film "Apocalypto", as that really had any significant bearing. I feel it would be one thing to attempt to gloss over the atrocities or badness of historical people/times, but things like this are taken way too seriously in some academic circles.

Why is it that physicists and astronomers rarely balk and whine like this when science fiction movies present significant discrepancies that would totally violate scientific laws (like the blasting sound of a spaceship approaching in the vacuum of space)? Maybe it's because they know better and see that in many cases, quality science fiction stimulates the imagination and makes us think and picture where we as a society could be some day, whether good or bad.

A similar value can be seen in quality historical fiction. We as readers can find it a valuable tool in giving us better insight into how things really may have been in a different time in history, one we could never experience for real. I hope this author's book can be classified as 'quality' historical fiction, and if so I hope she finds a way to get this story to print.

Femo:

"a remarkabel heroine", "feminist". Then why are Muslim women are covered up and treated like piece of crap in most Islamic nations?

Not to say American women are feminists either;Even American women do not use the "choice" to approach a man of their liking and ask him out. They have "chosen" to be chased like some piece of meat.

DC Guy:

How is this not racist? The underlying premise of Random House's refusal to publish is that it is worried about a terrorist response. It is not worried about American Muslims or French Muslims or English Muslims; it is worried about Arab muslims. They are acting on their fear that Arab Muslims will bomb, kill etc. in reaction to the publication of Jones' book, implicitely making the assumption "that's what they all do." This is racist.

Morgan:

Rahul, Ms. Jones is saying we should refuse to succumb to our racist views of Muslims. Many, including you, perceive Muslims to be necessarily violent, while she would like to help the world get to know the vast majority of Muslims who are not at all violent.

She would like to familiarize the world with the Prophet Muhammad, his wife A'isha and most importantly promote understanding of moderate Islam as a peaceful religion we need not fear. By refusing to publish her book, the exact opposite perception is promoted. I think Random House was right: it is in fact quite likely that a small group of ignorant, blowhard Muslims will react in typical idiotic fashion to this book by marching around with placards saying they will blow up buildings, kill all non-Muslims, etc. due to this "terrible insult" to Islam and the Prophet. The problem with caving into the threat that this group of people potentially poses to the world is that it causes the world to view all Muslims in the same negative light. Refusing to publish the book promotes racism against Muslims, most of whom, she believes, would not be offended by the book.

Ms. Jones believes that reasonable, intelligent Muslims will actually read the book and realize it is actually a quite flattering portrayal of Islam, the Prophet and his wife, and it is to their benefit to have books out there that are accessible to non-Muslims and that promote better understanding of their religion. I think her idea is that if non-Muslims realize that Islam is not necessarily a violent religion, we're much less likely to overreact to their extremist brethren by invading their country for pre-textual reasons. Her hope (which was well-founded, as demonstrated by all the interview requests she received from Muslim journalists) was that her book would open a dialogue between moderate Muslims and non-Muslims.

By not publishing the book, the status quo is unfortunately maintained: non-Muslims continue view all Muslims as ignoramuses that threaten our lives and our liberties, since a small group of radical, violent Muslims are permitted to set perceptions of and the agenda for the entire Muslim world.

David:

Will they at least release the domestic copyright if they don't plan to publish??

Eric:

No, it's not censorship. It is cowardice. Greed and cowardice are the defining virtues of corporations. It's a balancing act. Does the greed of a corporation outweigh its cowardice, or visa versa? That will determine the ultimate outcome of this comedy. Part of the comedy is that, in law, a corporation is defined as a Person. That gives you some idea of the Law's opinion of human nature. But then, of course, terrorists are monuments to holy virtue, recognizing no restraints in law or respect for persons. They only follow God. One quickly gets some idea of why a clear-sighted moralist like Mark Twain came to see the human animal as a bloody-minded clown. This beautiful little blue planet is indeed Comedy Central and we, the human species, keep coming up with the next murderous joke.

ed:

As a former employee of Random House, I am horrified by their conduct in this matter. The company is run by bean counters with no soul.
They should change their name to "Chicken House.'
Shame on them !

val:

Would Ms. Jones write a story about Jesus, Mary or Mary of Magdalene? Just wondering...

CallMeSkeptical:

Historical fiction takes liberties with historical fact all the time. Has Professor Spellberg ever watched an episode of Showtime's "The Tudors"?

The last-minute cancellation of Ms. Jones' book may not be censorship, but it is most assuredly a cowardly act.

Rich:

This would be the moment for the neocon warlords and Evangelical crusaders who run the White House and proclaim their lust to take on the Islamic world to find donors and resources to publish this; surely the people who run the Republican party can come up with the funding for a book project? But we all know the true cowardice that lies behind that chest-thumping, so don't expect to see it happen...

David Barron:

I'm sure that Random House will change their mind, or that another publisher will pick it up to reap the publicity profit. I'll buy this book (and the more interesting sounding sequel) sooner or later.

This is something like the uproar over Styron's "The Confessions of Nat Turner", which settled down once people actually read the book.

Idolator:

A child bride and a feminist at the same time? Nice joke. History says Aisha's family and tribe were killed by Mohammed and then of course he came up with his usual lies about Angel Gabrille telling him to go ahead and marry this poor child so that someone can look after her.

But perhaps more shocking is why today's Muslims are not willing the discuss Mohamed's personal life. Many historians have termed him as a war mongerer besides being a child abuser.

Jonathan:

The use of the word "censorship" in the title of this post is inappropriate. No censorship has taken place. Professor Spellberg gave a negative opinion of the book and made it clear that she in no way wanted to be associated with it. Believe me, no associate professor has the clout necessary to single-handedly kill a book. The publisher is a private company, and as Jones herself points out, can do whatever it wants.

Free speech means you are protected from government restrictions on speech. It is not an entitlement to be published. Nobody has to publish Jones' book if they don't want to. Random House changed their minds; Jones is free to find another publisher.

I don't understand at all what racism Jones is referring to. Yet another loaded word being thrown around, trying to make a non-issue into something important, cheapening the language and making it more difficult to discuss real issues. This "eloquent defense" comes off as adolescent whining.

Michael:

Random House most likely owns all the rights in the book now, and so Ms. Jones could probably not publish it on the web or take it to another publisher.

Tony in L.A.:

Denise Spellberg is obviously a moron and a coward. I look forward to buying and reading Sherry Jones' book when it's published by someone else. And in the mean time, I will definitely be reluctant to purchase books by Random House.

cecilia:

Does Ms Jones in her novel mention that Aisha was a child of 9 years, when she experienced "Muhammed's sting", or is that glossed over?

DGM:

Just as a historical note, it was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (PBUH) that was the Prophet's (PBUH) favorite wife. As a Muslim woman, I would have been interested to read this novel. People should take it for what it is - a work of fiction.

Mike in DC:

Seeing as how this is your work, and you presumably hold the copyright, you could post the novel on a website and allow people to download it. I imagine that you could even charge a small fee, to offet the costs and make a small profit. If your novel is as good as you say, then I hope that this is what you do.

Surely, this is a way to circumvent the onerous and, honestly, cowardly reaction of Random House.

Gasmonkey:

Sherry Jones, I have to question your veracity when you misuse words like "censorship." Random House is may be refusing to publish your book, but they are not censoring you. Censorship comes from the Government exercise of state power. Only officials may censor. Refusal of a private corporation to publish your book is not censorship. It might be cowardice, it might be poor (or good) business sense, it might be a lot of things, but it is not censorship. Have they blocked you from self-publishing it?

taylorcoursey:

It's hard to add to such a well written response. I think we should all support Ms. Jones in her efforts.

I personally will refrain from buying any Random House books until Ms. Jones book is published either by Random House or perhaps better by some company that respects literary freedom.

Windrose1943:

The link to Dr. Spellberg is revealing: she is an historian, not a novelist. The disciplines of both are radically different in the final analysis. While Spellberg complains that Ms. Jones doesn't get her history right, novelists are not bound by the same covenant as historians, but may exercise poetic license to tell a story based in history. But more significant is the stink of fear which underpins this whole sorry episode. I am surprised that Random House, of all publishers, should tuck tail and run in the face of a nameless and formless fear. Proponents of the 1st Amendment are not cowards, or should not be, in the face of criticism of the printed page. Ms. Jones should seek a new publisher with courage and conviction, and perhaps Salman Rushdie can advise. She should dump Random House, and Dr. Spellberg as minor footnotes in what must surely be an embarrassing episode for both. Good luck with a publisher. If you print the book, I'll buy it.

Rahul:

"refuse to succumb to racism". Where is the racism in this? You think you were discriminated against because you are white? Get a grip, first.

The problem of course, is threat and the violence all over the world by Muslims. Why you call it racism? Are you also fearful of speaking the truth?

Joel Roache:

This episode illustrates, of course, the usual corporate contempt for freedom of expression. They favor it only when it is convenient and then abandon it at the slightest sign of serious controversy. Thus readers are denied exposure to controversial perspectives or ideas. If George III had Random House on his side, we might all be speaking with a British accent today. This disgrace also highlights the power of a few corporations. Some corporate exec decides we will not have a chance to read this book, and that's it. Freedom of the press belongs exclusively to those who own the press, and of course they use it as they see fit, and the rest of us can just accept what they decide to give us. Thank God for the internet. Without it, we would know little more about important issues than readers of Isvetsia or Tass.

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.