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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tabish Khair on The Jewel of Medina

You read about I Didn't Kill 'The Jewel of Medina' - here, now a follow up by Tabish Khair. Deja vu, and a sense of tiredness? Because it is probably going to happen all over again: moral indignation in liberal circles and angry protests by religious Muslims. A romantic novel about Aisha, the youngest bride of the prophet Muhammad, has been withdrawn because its publisher, Ballantine Books (part of Random House publications), feared possible terrorist acts by Muslim extremists. Evidently, a draft sent to western scholars of Islam was found deeply offensive and unreliable by at least one of them, while the writer defended the novel as bearing no demeaning connotation.

Of course, the novel will be published sooner or later. Writing about Muhammad has become the shortest cut to media attention in the west. And of course semi-employed young men and women from religious Muslim backgrounds will be out on the streets, shouting. They usually have little better to do anyway.


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