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Corporate publishing block, Random House, has withdrawn its agreement to publish, “The Jewel of Medina”, a novel based on the life of Aisha, a wife of the prophet Muhammad, by journalist Sherry Jones, citing ‘fears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.
 “You Still Can’t Write About Muhammad” WSJ, Aug 6th 2008
 “I Didn’t Kill ‘The Jewel of Medina'” WSJ, Aug 9th 2008
Filed under: Terrorist victories