Advertisement

City of Brass

City of Brass

Random House gets slapped

I think that Random House’s claim to have pulled the Jewel of Medina over concerns about violence are simply not credible – and rather cowardly, to hide behind the hypothetical muslim horde. If perhaps they thought they could get away by playing the victim card, though, they were mistaken – the scions of free speech have roused themselves in fury over RH’s betrayal of free speech values. First, it was Salman Rushdie decrying censorship where none existed, now it is a group called the Langum Charitable Trust which has issued a press release stating that Random House’s books will no longer be considered for any of the literary awards that the trust hands out in various categories. I was forwarded the text of the release via email:

Advertisement

August 25, 2008:

Random House and Cowardly Self-Censorship

Random House recently dropped its plans to publish Sherry Jones’s book The Jewel of Medina solely on the grounds that its publication might be offensive to some in the Muslim community and might lead to acts of violence by radical Muslims. While any publisher has the right if not the duty to refuse to publish books that lack literary merit, Random House had previously decided this manuscript was highly publishable. It paid a $100,000 advance, and had arranged for foreign publication, Book of the Month Club selection, and Quality Paperback Book Club selection.

All that triggered Random House’s repudiation of its promise was the receipt of some fairly slight information that there might be violence. Serious ideas, even if offensive to some, flourish in books. Random House has exhibited a degree of cowardly self-censorship that seriously threatens the American public’s access to the free marketplace of ideas.

Advertisement

While this manuscript is not in any of our prize areas, Random House’s actions represent a threat to all literature. We understand that the author’s agent is attempting to find another publisher. Meanwhile, we can not pretend that this type of cowardice will disappear without serious remonstrance. Until The Jewel of Medina is actually published, The Langum Charitable Trust will not consider submissions of any books, for any of our prizes, from Random House or any of its affiliates. We do this reluctantly, since our most recent prize in American historical fiction went to a Random House title. Nevertheless, this issue must be confronted.

It is regrettable that with our national Banned Books Week only one month away, we still must concern ourselves with these issues.

Advertisement

Of course, Jewel of Medina is not a “banned book” nor is RH’s refusal to publish the book tantamount to censorship of any kind. However, I agree with the Langham Trust that RH’s actions were cowardly. Any pressure upon RH that induces them to rethink their decision – or at least, dissuade other publishers from doing the same thing with respect to books about Islam – is a good thing.

Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Obama quoted my letter about my daughter
This is a guest post by Ali Asghar Alibhai. There is no question that the America my generation grew up in is much different than the America of now. I grew up in West Texas, a place that some might consider as among the most conservative in ...

posted 1:30:00pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

Who was Saudi Shi'a Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr?
Yesterday, the Saudi government executed the Shi'a cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, as an enemy of the state. His ...

posted 2:12:32pm Jan. 03, 2016 | read full post »

Hijab Wars
It's fundamentally problematic for a man to weigh in on hijab. That hasn't stopped me from wading into the topic before (see: The Burka and the Bikini), but the only conversation of substance that can happen on the topic is between Muslim women, ...

posted 3:13:28am Dec. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Misquoted verses in the Qur'an (and the Bible)
This is a popular graphic that makes the ruonds on Facebook from time to time, so I thought I'd publish it here for reference. These five verses are among the most common ones that Islamophobes use to justify arguments that Muslims are evil ...

posted 12:15:12pm Dec. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Trump, the cartoon enemy
It needs to be said - that Trump is a symptom, not a disease. There has been a GOP War on Muslims for years, and despite heroic efforts by Republican Muslim Americans to sway opinion, the bottom line is that Muslim hatred is a prerequisite for ...

posted 12:50:28pm Dec. 11, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.