Thoughtful Thursday – Censorship or Sensibleness?

JEWEL OF MEDINA by Sherry JonesThis is probably as controversial a topic as any we’ll discuss here. Not something I normally do, but the whole idea grabbed my interest and saddened me at the same time. What’s this topic about?

A New York City publisher cancelled the publication of a historical novel by Sherry Jones about one of the wives of Muhammad due to concerns that the book might be offensive to some and also “that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” For more information on how this book was pulled from the market, please click here to read an essay by Asra Nomani of the Wall Street Journal.

Ms. Nomani, who is no stranger to the Muslim community and has worked for change toward women in the Muslim world, notes in her article that these actions saddened her.

It saddens me as well for a number of reasons and I’m interested to hear what you have to say. As for the reasons it saddens me, here goes:

It saddens me as a proponent of free speech that someone’s work is apparently being censored.
It saddens me as a writer to see years of hard work and the dream of publication being ripped away at the last minute.
It saddens me as a romance writer to see something which is described by one as a “racy historical novel” being called “soft core pornography” by another.
It saddens me as an American that the threat of terror has silenced someone much like terrorists hoped to silence America by taking down the Towers.
It saddens me for all the Muslims who do not believe that violence is the answer since unfortunately, it is the radical elements of any society that seem to get the press.
It saddens me as a woman since part of the goal of this novel who wanted to give a voice to the women in the book.

How do you feel? What do you think about what has happened to this book?

For some other comments on this event, you can check out these links:

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/publishing/has_random_house_let_the_terrorists_win_90974.asp?c=rss
http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/the-jewel-of-medina-is-now-on-sale-no-wait-nevermind/