Satanic Verses author Sir Salman Rushdie has spoken of the need to ask questions about religion in the wake of the row about a new book on the Prophet Mohammed.
Muslim hate criminals recently firebombed the home of a British publisher of the novel, Jewel of Medina. The US publisher of the book, Random House, cancelled publication for fear of violent reprisals.
Police in London are holding three suspected terrorists after a weekend arson attack at the London home of the publisher of a novel about the Prophet Mohamed’s child bride.
Two Muslim hate criminals said that further attacks would be “inevitable” if publication of the novel, The Jewel of Medina, goes ahead as planned next month.
The Jewel of Medina tells the story of Aisha, one of Muhammad’s wives, from the age of six to 18 when Muhammad dies.
It was bought by Random House US for a reported advance of $100,000, but then dropped after the publisher was told by academics and security experts that publication was potentially more risky than Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and the Danish publication of cartoons of Muhammad. [video]
A novel about the child bride of the Prophet Mohamed has been withdrawn by Random House, which said it feared that publication of the book could “incite acts of violence”. Critics, however, have accused the publisher of abandoning the principle of free speech and caving into pressure from extreme Islamist elements.
The Jewel of Medina, a debut novel by the US journalist Sherry Jones, was due to have been published next Tuesday, and Random House had scheduled an eight-city publicity tour. But in May, the publisher abruptly informed her that all plans were now off.