Islam: Prophet bride novel published in US

New York, 7 Oct. (AKI) - A controversial novel about the Muslim Prophet Mohammed's child bride was released in the US this week , despite a firebomb attack against its British publisher.

Beaufort Books published The Jewel of Medina by American journalist Sherry Jones after Random House dropped it amid fears its publication could incite violence.

The novel has been denounced by Muslim fundamentalists as an "insult" to Islam. It traces the life of the Prophet Mohammed's child bride Aisha from the age of six until his death.

Denise Spellberg, professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas, criticised the novel as a disrespectful misrepresentation of history, warning Random House its publication would be "a national security issue."

It's uncertain if the book will be published in Britain after the firebomb attack last month on the London home of Martin Rynja, the novel's UK publisher.

Three male Muslims aged between 22 and 40 were last Friday charged over the attack on Rynja's house in Islington, in north London.

Beaufort Books said it had decided to bring forward The Jewel of Medina's release date so it could be assessed on its merits as literature.

"We felt that ... it was better for everybody let the conversation switch from a conversation about terrorists and fearful publishers, to a conversation about the merits of the book itself," said Beaufort Books president Eric Kampmann.

In 2006, deadly riots erupted in many Muslim countries over cartoons of the Prophet originally published in a Danish daily.

Indian-British author Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding for almost 10 years after Iran's late Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill him for his novel, The Satanic Verses.


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