A small victory for free speech

Naughty novel to be published after all

"Gibson Square, a British publishing house, has announced that it will soon release "The Jewel of Medina," a novel by American author Sherry Jones whose publication in the United States was recently canceled by Random House for fear of triggering violence by Islamic fanatics. Bravo.

The novel fictionalizes the relationship between the Prophet Muhammad and his youngest bride, Aisha. After paying the author a significant advance and making plans for the release of the book, Random House sent copies of the galleys to various scholars, some of whom told the publisher that the content distorted history, would inflame Muslims and could cause much trouble. Security experts were also consulted. Random House decided to cancel publication of Jones' work, invoking reasons of "safety."

Many people in the West misunderstand what freedom of expression means. They associate it with the restriction on the power of the government to interfere with the freedom to express oneself. It is really a restriction on the power of anyone to interfere with anyone else's right to free expression, including but not limited to the government. If a business decision is made under extreme fear-directly or indirectly caused by force from a third person rather than the government-freedom of expression also suffers.

I am not interested in the reasons why Gibson Square has decided to publish the book-whether opportunism, greed, love of scandal, a dislike of the prophet, or a belief in the merits of the novel. But the fact that someone, somewhere, is willing to run the risk of not letting the threat of violence inhibit free expression is tremendously comforting


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them