An author named Sherry Jones has written a book, called The Jewel of Medina, that will never see the light of day because it novelizes the life and times, with particular focus on the marital details, of the prophet Mohammed.
The Jewel of Medina was bought by Random House and primed to be a best-seller – before a University of Texas teacher saw proofs and declared it “a national security issue”. Random House had visions of a re-run of the Rushdie or the Danish cartoons affairs. Sherry Jones’s publisher has pulped the book. It’s gone.
Hari goes on to criticize the kid gloves with which Islamic issues are dealt the world round, contrasting it to the relative ease with which people question the tenets of Christianity and other more ‘docile’ world religions. Although his East End perspective may not allow him to fully appreciate the rebounding resistence to criticism sought by Christians in America, his general conclusions are spot on:
It is condescending to treat Muslims like excitable children who cannot cope with the probing, mocking treatment we hand out to Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. It is perfectly consistent to protect Muslims from bigotry while challenging the bigotries and absurdities within their holy texts.
There is now a pincer movement trying to silence critical discussion of Islam. To one side, fanatics threaten to kill you; to the other, critics call you “Islamophobic”. But consistent atheism is not racism. On the contrary: it treats all people as mature adults who can cope with rational questions. When we pulp books out of fear of fundamentalism, we are decapitating the most precious freedom we have.
Naturally, he is receiving a quantity of shrill concern-troll style email for daring to sing a refrain that might sound a bit familiar ’round these parts: NOTHING IS SACRED. The responses of anger and fear are as predictable as they are sad, and just as many, if not more, of the complaints are coming from the uber-tolerant left. It is frustrating how glibly the term ‘bigot’ is now deployed, from a seemingly untouchable ultra-politically correct position. I long as much for the freedom to call ‘bullshit’ when warranted as I do for the day when, through efforts of vocal rationalists and moderates, the chinks in Religion’s armor have been widened enough to let the light stream in, and words and symbolic actions challenging the merits of any faith or philosophy can be spoken, read and conducted with impunity.
Just in case it’s not clear from the title, this post was authored by Guest Blogger Danio.