US Publisher Gets Cold Feet Over 'Romantic Novel'- The Jewel of Medina

Ayesha with pedophile profit Muhammad

* If anything, its a crappy book. Books like that don’t help our cause in any way. But then again, what Random House is doing here is blatant pre-emptive censorship. And more than anything, its shameless cowardice in the face of an implacable enemy.

Given this excerpt from the book, I’m ready to say good riddance:

“The novel, for example, includes a scene on the night when Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha: “the pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion’s sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life.”


Update to this story. “Random US: no regrets over Islam book,” by Philip Jones, from the Book Seller, August 12:

Random House US has said that it has no regrets about pulling out of publication of Sherry Jones’ Islam-inspired romantic novel, The Jewel of Medina, despite the growing controversy about the decision. The news, which broke in the US last week, has led to widespread criticism, and drawn comparisons with The Satanic Verses and the Danish Mohammed cartoons row. 

But Stuart Applebaum Random House US spokesman told The Bookseller that the publisher had had “no second thoughts“. “It was a difficult decision: one that we have seldom had to take before and one that we hope not to have to take again,” he said. Applebaum said that the decision had been taken by Gina Centrello, president and publisher of the Random House Publishing Group in the US, after several “credible and unrelated sources” warned that it might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, and could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.

However, the explanation has failed to convince some observers. In a strongly worded piece on the Guardian website, Andrew Franklin, publisher at the UK-based Profile Books, was damning about the decision. “It’s absolutely shocking. They are such cowards,” he said. When asked about his comments, Franklin told The Bookseller: “I just think publishers should uphold the principle of free speech – editorial judgement is very important, but free speech is sacred, without it we should give up and go home.”

In a separate statement, Random House US said: “We stand firmly by our responsibility to support our authors and the free discussion of ideas, even those that may be construed as offensive by some. However, a publisher must weigh that responsibility against others that it also bears, and in this instance we decided, after much deliberation, to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel.



*          its a BS-book in more ways than one:

Sherry Jones thinks Mohammed married Aisha when she was age 11 —

Jones writes on her blog that “all I did was try to portray A’isha, Muhammad’s child bride (believed by most historians to have married Muhammad at age nine and consummated the marriage at age 11) in the context of her times.”

If this novel purports to be historical, (it doesn’t)  I wonder if it makes mention of Aisha’s comments that she had to wash and scrape the semen stains off the Prophet’s clothes before he went to prayers, as attested by Bukhari (Volume 1, Book 4, Numbers 229 to 233)


For the hadith sources of Muhammads sacralized pedophilia, see the following:


Sahih Muslim, 


‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and she was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.



Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88:

Narrated ‘Ursa:

The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151:

Narrated ‘Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, wo had not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13)


Sahih Muslim, 

‘A’isha reported that she used to play with dolls in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and when her playmates came to her they left (the house) because they felt shy of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), whereas Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent them to her

The ugly living legacy of such pedophilia persists in Islamic communities across the globe from Yemen, toAfghanistan—to Britain. Here is a description of the “tender, romantic, and deeply spiritual experience”—notwithstanding Jones’ invented, hagiographic “biography” of Aisha—from a contemporary female Muslim child “bride” in London:


“I told them I was terrified and desperate, that I was just a child and far too young to get married. I pleaded with them to help me escape, but no one saw anything wrong in what was happening. I begged my husband not to marry me, but he told me I had no choice.”Despite being two years below the British age of consent, Ayse was moved into her cousin’s family home, where she lived openly as his wife in the local Kurdish Turkish community. “I was all alone in a foreign country, unable to speak the language,” she said. “I was trapped. Until I escaped, I didn’t even realize that marrying at 14 wasn’t legal in Britain: everyone I knew in London regarded it as normal.” In the two years before she reached 16, the sex Ayse was coerced into having with her cousin was statutory rape. “It was disgusting, awful,” she said. “I used to scream and cry all night. I was too young, too tender. It killed me inside. Life became meaningless.”

Finally, Sherry Jones would do well to read the advocate of Indonesian women’s rights Raden Adjeng Kartini’s “Letters of a Javanese Princess,” (New York, A. A. Knopf, 1920,) to understand the ramifications of the “sacralized” polygamy (“sister wives,” Jones calls them!)  also glorified in her drivelous “The Jewel of Medina.” Here are Kartini’s poignant observations (from pp. 41-42)—still sadly relevant in our own era—ignored, and debased by Jones’ egregious novel:

“How can I respect one who is married and a father, and who when he has had enough of the mother of his children, brings another woman into his house, and is, according to the Moslem law, legally married to her? And who does not do this? And why not? It is no sin, and still less a scandal….The Moslem law allows a man to have four wives at the same time. And though it be a thousand times over no sin according to the Moslem law and doctrine, I shall forever call it a sin…And can you imagine what hell-pain a woman must suffer when her husband comes home with another—a rival—whom she must recognize as his legal wife? He can torture her to death, mistreat her as he will; if he does not choose to give her back her freedom, then she can whistle to the moon for her rights. Everything for the man, and nothing for the woman is our law…


Random House drops novel on “lust, love and intrigue” in Muhammad’s harem — for fear of violence from Muslims

Spencer: Muslims Learn Again That Violent Intimidation Works

And in this case, just the chimerical prospect of violent intimidation. My column in Human Events today discusses the latest cowardice from Random House:

Random House paid $100,000 for The Jewel of Medina, Sherry Jones’ racy historical novel about Muhammad and his nine-year-old wife, Aisha, only to withdraw the book just days before its scheduled August 12 publication date. Random House deputy publisher Thomas Perry explained that they decided to drop the book after receiving, “from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” They decided “to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel.”This craven capitulation to violent intimidation came without any actual violent intimidation at all. Random House was smart enough to figure out, in these post-Salman Rushdie, post-Muhammad cartoons, post-Pope Rage days that publishing a book that Muslims find offensive could be hazardous to the health of a good many people.


It is curious that they let Jones work on The Jewel of Medina for six years only to remember Rushdie when her book was about to be published. That may be due to pressure from Denise A. Spellberg, an Associate Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. When Spellberg received an advance copy of the book, she became “frantic” and contacted Shahed Amanullah, editor of the popular website “She was upset,” said Amanullah, because the book “made fun of Muslims and their history.” She later declared that The Jewel of Medina was a “very ugly, stupid piece of work…. You can’t play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography.”Spellberg denies charges that she was the “instigator” of Random House’s decision to deep-six Jones’ book. She says, “I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel’s potential to provoke anger among some Muslims.” Yet Spellberg also maintains: “I do not espouse censorship of any kind, but I do value my right to critique those who abuse the past without regard for its richness or resonance in the present.”

Spellberg does seem to be right about The Jewel of Medina. The book rather improbably depicts the nine-year-old Aisha, at the moment of the consummation of her marriage to Muhammad, as finding “the bliss I had longed for all my life.” As evidenced by trash like this, the actual “richness and resonance in the present” of Muhammad’s marriage to the child Aisha is probably lost on both Spellberg and Jones. But due to Muhammad’s status in Islamic tradition as the supreme example of human conduct, child marriage is quite prevalent in some areas of the Islamic world today.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that over half of the girls in Afghanistan and Bangladesh are married before they reach the age of eighteen. In early 2002, researchers in refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan found half the girls married by age thirteen. In an Afghan refugee camp, more than two out of three second-grade girls were either married or engaged, and virtually all the girls who were beyond second grade were already married. One ten-year-old was engaged to a man of sixty. In early 2005 a Saudi man in his sixties drew international attention for marrying fifty-eight times; his most recent bride was a 14-year-old he married in the spring of 2004.

If Jones really wanted to offend Muslims, she could have made her novel a negative portrayal of Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha and a denunciation of the devastating effects child marriage has had upon untold numbers of girls in the Islamic world ever since. That would certainly have brought her opprobrium and threats, but she would have had the satisfaction of knowing that she was standing up for the dignity of the human person. As it is, her book does indeed seem to be as Spellberg describes it: a “very ugly, stupid piece of work.”

That being the case, however, since when has Random House or any American publisher refrained from publishing a book because it was ugly and stupid? When has any American publisher passed up a book because they thought it cheapened Jewish or Christian sacred history? Put down your copy of The Da Vinci Code and ponder that one for a minute.

It is becoming increasingly common for Americans to bow to pressure from Muslims to accommodate Islamic practices and mores. It is also becoming common for the specter of violence to inhibit discussion of the elements of Islam that jihadists use to justify terrorism. Where will all this accommodation end? It will not end until America is a Sharia state, unless enough Americans begin to resist. Or, even if America never becomes anything remotely approximating a Sharia state, how much of our freedoms and rights will we allow to be eroded away before we stand up and call a halt to this?

If Random House had axed Jones’ book because it is silly and stupid, that would be no problem. But to explain that they did so because of the possibility of violence is only to reinforce the lesson that threats and violence work. And with that lesson re-taught, our freedoms will continue to erode.

4 thoughts on “US Publisher Gets Cold Feet Over 'Romantic Novel'- The Jewel of Medina”

  1. Raping little girls is “sacred history”?

    I wish the National Enquirer had been around in Arabia in the 7th century.

    I’d love to have seen their take on “Pedophile Profits from Kinky Cavortings”.

  2. The blasphemous book ridiculing the Roman Catholic Church has been thwarted by the Church yet no one raises a big stink about it. There is a double standard here. See, “Sex with the Virgin Mary” by Charles Webb at

  3. Proof that terrorism, suicide bombings, issuing fatwahs on authors and publishers, murdering anyone who dares to criticize Muslim practices (Muslim culture!), taking legal action against writers and publishers – works.

    Fear works.

    Retaliation is long overdue.

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