Another Indication Bin Laden Is Winning

Yet more evidence has come to light of the success of terrorism. Fear is the objective. The deaths and suffering of a few can instill horror, revulsion, and dread in the minds of many. How governments and corporate bodies react has huge impact on the response felt by the rest of us.

Corporate publishing block, Random House, has withdrawn its agreement to publish, “The Jewel of Medina”, a novel based on the life of Aisha, a wife of the prophet Muhammad, by journalist Sherry Jones, citing ‘fears it could spark violence’.

The book was due for release on August 12th. According to Random House the decision was taken in May 2008 because of advice the work “might be offensive” and “”could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.”

Refusing to honor a contract with the author for political reasons, which is the real factor at issue, places Random House in the position of dictating what constitutes ‘free press’. They obviously considered the book worthy of publication, having signed a contract with the author, so to pull the plug is nothing short of scandalous. If works were refused publication purely on grounds they might offend minority groups, library bookshelves around the country would be half empty.

It appears Random House based its decision largely on the opinion of one American academic, Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas in Austin, who, after receiving a galley of the book for her possible endorsement, contacted Muslim friends and warned them the book might cause offense. She then gave Random House her opinion that the book was “ugly”, “stupid”, and “soft core pornography”.

Further reading on events surrounding the publishing house’s decision can be found at the links below, and delving into personal, possibly self-centered motives on the part of Ms Spellberg is not the focus of this article. What is of more concern is the reason(s) given by Random House based entirely on their fear of extremist repercussions.

When fear is publicly shown to grip a corporate body and prevent it from functioning in a free and open manner, it does more for the objectives of terrorism than the publishing of one contentious novel.

[1] “You Still Can’t Write About Muhammad” WSJ, Aug 6th 2008

[2] “I Didn’t Kill ‘The Jewel of Medina'” WSJ, Aug 9th 2008

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8 Replies to “Another Indication Bin Laden Is Winning”

  1. I guess the “fight them over there” so we don’t “have to fight them over here” policy is not working any more?
    I wonder what the new strategy will be?

  2. For all the bravado (Hummers, pitbulls, tattoos, yellow ribbons, and “God, Guts and Guns” bumperstickers) this country is the wimpiest bunch of crybaby bullies ever. I cannot get too worked up over some religious fiction (DaVinci Code for Muslims) but it is the nonfiction that is quashed that tees me off. This book has gotten enough publicity that she could probably self-publish and get enough readership to be pretty successful.

    By the way, did you see what is no 1 on the New York Times Nonfiction best seller list?

  3. Well, that’s a shame! The subject matter wouldn’t have appealed to me personally, but from the links you provided, RJ, the novel sounds reasonable enough. But then, you and I have been seasoned by Monty Python, “The Life of Brian” and suchlike ! Those who are of a complaining nature and looking for trouble though don’t need much to spur them on. So….if there had been a few protests, banner wavers, mild fisticuffs….it’s best to let it out rather than fester. Published or not, the bad feeling will still be there now the theme of the book has received publicity.

    I’m still amazed by the level of censorship here. Just last night we watched part of “The Fugitive” (on TNT I think), when it came to Tommy Lee Jones’ line (one of my favourites which I often use myself – though not to a real sheriff I might add) – “Well shit, sheriff!”……it had been over-dubbed to “Well dang sheriff!”
    The lovely alliteration lost in translation for delicate US ears. 😉

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more. Bin Laden is winning. Is the withdrawal of this book what Bush and Co. were after when they instituted their climate of fear? What is wrong with us?

  5. If anyone has a genuine interest in this subject, i would like to suggest a perusal of Sahih al Bukhari or Sahih al Muslim, both of which contain some of the over 2000 hadith related by this remarkable lady. Many of these have gone in to Shari’ah law to ensure womens’ rights in Islam.

    Not only was she one of the favourites of our prophet (s.a.s.), she was also the first female magistrate, one of the compilers of the Qur’an, and a vigorous defender of human rights. Her capacity for remembering massive amounts of information in great detail is legendary. And for those who would see her as a meek and submissive female, i would remind them that she used to lead men into battle while riding a war elephant.

  6. WWW – perhaps to ban all books, just in case one gives offense? I believe it’s been tried before.

    Flimsy – Harcover: The Obama Nation, or Paperback: Three Cups Of Tea?

    Twilight – yes, and delicate American eyes. I was shocked to watch an arts program on an ‘arts’ channel when I first arrived here. Botticelli paintings on display were never shown below the waist and had the nude’s nipples ‘fuzzed’ out. What a country!

    Al – it’s all part of the ‘climate of fear’.

    Anan – thanks for that information. I understand that when she led her army into battle she was enclosed in a shrouded throne and would not reveal herself, as it was considered unseemly for a woman to do so.

  7. The Obama one. Jerome R. Corsi is the author of several books, including “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry” (along with John O’Neill), “Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil” (along with Craig R. Smith), “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians,” and most recently, “Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America’s Borders.”

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