Publisher censorship

A recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution  (8/21/2008) Publisher pulls novel over fears of Muslim violence talks about the decision by the publisher Random House to pull from publication a new novel by Sherry Jones, The Jewel of Medina, which is a fictional portrayal of Aisha, child bride of the Prophet Muhammad, in 7th century Arabia. They are afraid that there would be reprisals from the Muslim community. Salman Rusdie, author of the Satanic Verses (ULGC , PR9499.3.R8 S28 1989) is quoted in the article as saying that he is disappointed in his publisher, Random House, for this self-censorship.  The author is very disappointed also, but she will probably get other offers.  Our library might not buy this book since it is popular historical fiction by an unknown author, but this does raise questions about censorship. Is America still the land of the free? Should publishers give in to this kind of pressure? I would imagine that Random House does not want to be sued and so decided to cut their losses. Do you have a reaction? Please share your thoughts.

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