Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 15:26 UK

Muhammad book on hold in the UK

Sherry Jones
Sherry Jones has been heavily criticised for her book

The author of a controversial novel about the Prophet Muhammad has postponed its UK publication.

American writer Sherry Jones has also cancelled her promotional tour next week for The Jewel of Medina.

The novel, which focuses on Muhammad's relationship with his child bride Aisha, has been dismissed by one academic as "softcore pornography".

A member of staff at its UK publisher in London was recently targeted in a suspected petrol bomb attack.

Three men have since been arrested and charged with conspiring to damage Martin Rynja's home and office.

Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas, was quoted in the US media as saying the book took "sacred history" and turned it into "softcore pornography".

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

Spokesman for publisher

A spokesman for Gibson Square Publishers said: "We respect Sherry Jones' 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.

He added that "despite the controversy of the past two weeks, Sherry Jones' intention remains as it was from the start to engage with a current debate in a positive way".

In August US publisher Random House decided not to release the book becaue of fears it could spark violence.

The novel was subsequently bought by Beaufort Books.

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

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