Mohammed novel: The Jewel of Medina, has UK launch postponed

The launch of controversial novel The Jewel of Medina about the Prophet Mohammed has been postponed: American writer Sherry Jones has also delayed a three-day publicity tour of the UK for her book scheduled for next week. The novel focuses on Mohammed’s relationship with his child bride Aisha but has been dismissed by one academic as “softcore pornography”. The Jewel of Medina was due to be released by Gibson Square Publishers this month but two weeks ago the home of Martin Rynja, who works for the publishing house, was targeted in a suspected petrol bomb attack. Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas, was quoted in the US media as saying the Jewel of Medina took “sacred history” and turned it into “softcore pornography”. A spokesman for Gibson Square Publishers said today: “We respect Sherry Jones’s decision. In her view the best thing to do is to postpone her visit and the publishing of the novel in Britain. “It is not an easy call for any author, particularly in the case of a debut novel that attracts so much attention from the British media. “We appreciate that she will continue to make time available to any interested British groups to dispel misinformation about The Jewel of Medina.” The statement added: “We hope that they will get in touch with us to receive further information about her hopes for her novel to foster greater understanding of Islam for Western readers.

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