According to an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Random House has reneged on an agreement to publish a novel about Aisha, Muhammad’s young wife. The Jewel of Medina, written by Sherry Jones, allegedly has some racy material, enough to provoke one of the writers who vetted the book, Denise Spellberg, to warn the publisher that it could inspire violence. Random House decided not to publish the book for “fear of a possible terrorist threat from extremist Muslims” and concern for “the safety and security of the Random House building and employees.”
Addressing this today is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:
“There are several issues here. First, where is the outcry from the academic community about the scare tactics of Denise Spellberg, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin? She was the one who sounded the alarms and even got her lawyer to warn Random House that her name was not to be associated with her demagoguery. Second, it is known that the woman whom Jones is writing about, Aisha, was, in fact, six years old when Muhammad wrote the marriage contract; she was nine when the marriage was consummated. So now no one can write a historical novel about his perversions? Third, Doubleday published Dan Brown’s anti-Catholic novel, The Da Vinci Code, and Doubleday is owned by Random House. So what does it take for Random House not to offend religious sensibilities? Threats of violence? Great message.
“The Catholic League will continue to speak out against anti-Catholic books, movies, artwork, music, plays and the like, and we will continue to do so by exercising our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. And we will continue to blast all those phony ‘free speech’ advocates who remain silent about matters like this. Next time they accuse us of censorship for merely voicing our objections about anti-Catholicism, we will be sure to throw this one in their face.”