Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 10:48 UK

Prophet bride book appears in US

Sherry Jones
Sherry Jones does not know if the UK will see publication

A novel about the Prophet Muhammad's child bride has been published in the US ahead of schedule after the office of the British publisher was attacked.

Beaufort Books is publishing The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones in the US after Random House dropped it amid fears it could incite violence.

Three men were charged in the UK over a fire at offices of British publisher Gibson Square Books last month.

The novel follows the life of A'isha from six until the Prophet's death.

Beaufort Books said it was publishing the novel ahead of schedule so it could be assessed on its merits as literature rather than the potential offence it could cause to Muslims.

Beaufort's president, Eric Kampmann, said: "We felt that... it was better for everybody... to let the conversation switch from a conversation about terrorists and fearful publishers to a conversation about the merits of the book itself."

I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel's potential to provoke anger among some Muslims
Professor Denise Spellberg

Random House said it had been given advice that the book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community.

One critic has been US Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies, Denise Spellberg, who said the book was a disrespectful mis-representation of history.

Prof Spellberg wrote in the Wall Street Journal: "I used my scholarly expertise to assess the novel. It was in that same professional capacity that I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel's potential to provoke anger among some Muslims.

"There is a long history of anti-Islamic polemic that uses sex and violence to attack the Prophet and his faith. This novel follows in that oft-trodden path, one first pioneered in medieval Christian writings."

In 2006, riots erupted in many Muslim countries over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

Ms Jones said she did not know whether Gibson Square would proceed with publication in the UK.

Ali Beheshti, 40, Abrar Mirza, 22, and Abbas Taj, 30, have been remanded in custody until 17 October over the attack.

Muhammad novel set for UK release
04 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
Prophet Muhammad novel scrapped
09 Aug 08 |  Entertainment

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