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US academic dubs new book on Prophet Mohammed "softcore pornography"

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 ANI

London, Sept 30 (ANI): American author Sherry Jones' book, "The Jewel of Medina", has been termed "softcore pornography" by an American academic.


The Telegraph quoted Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, as saying that Jones' book had converted" sacred history" into "softcore pornography." "The novel constituted a "declaration of war" and "a national security issue," she added.Author Jones has called on Spellberg to retract her comments, saying they are "unfair" and "slanderous".


"She used the most inflammatory language she could possibly have used. If you want to incite heated emotions from any religious group, you just use the word 'pornography' in the same sentence as their revered figures," Jones said, adding, "She ought to take back her words because it is in no way an accurate description of my book. There are no sex scenes in it. I have not dishonoured the Prophet. I wrote it with the intention of honouring him."


Spellberg teaches courses, including the history of the Middle East and Gender in Islamic History and has a PhD from Columbia University.


Her published works include an academic study of Aisha's life called Politics, Gender and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of Aisha bint Abi Bakr.


The professor said she did not espouse censorship of any kind but believed Jones' novel gave a false representation of Aisha's life.


She said: "I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel's potential to provoke anger among some Muslims.


The novel tells of Aisha's marriage to Mohammed at the age of nine and, most controversially, includes a fictional description of the night the couple consummated their marriage.


The book is being published by Martin Rynja and focuses on Prophet Mohammed's relationship with his young bride Aisha.


It was dropped from publication in the United States by Random House earlier this year after warnings of violent reprisals.


London-based radical cleric Anjem Choudhary has also called the book an insult to the Prophet's honour, something he said would warrant a "death penalty" under Sharia law.


Rynja is in hiding and under police protection after an attack on his home by suspected Islamic extremists.


Meanwhile, Jones' agent Natasha Kern said publication of the novel would go ahead in the UK in two weeks. (ANI)



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