Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book about Mohammed's love-life

Book about Mohammed's love-life

Sep 15, 2008

BELGRADE, Sept 15, 2008 (AFP) - A Serbian publisher decided to re-release a controversial novel about the Muslim prophet Mohammed's love life, after it was withdrawn in August, Tanjug news agency reported Sunday.

The chief executive of BeoBooks bookstores, Aleksandar Jasic, said "The Jewel of Medina" -- a debut novel by US journalist Sherry Jones about the Prophet Mohammed's favourite wife A'isha -- will be back on sale Monday.

BeoBooks withdraw the 1,000 copies it printed in Serbian on August 18 under pressure from Islamic leaders.

Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, one of Serbia's main Islamic leaders, had compared the book with the controversial Danish cartoons that sparked violent protests in 2005, calling it "an insult to all Muslims around the world."

The Serbian edition of the book follows the life of A'isha from her engagement to Mohammed at the age of six until his death.

It was the first to be published in the world, according to local reports.

Serbian non-governmental organisations protested against BeoBooks' decision to withdraw the book saying it jeopardised freedom of opinion and expression.

Explaining the distributor's U-turn, Jasic told Tanjug agency "only the readers are capable" of judging the work for themselves.

He added that after the book was withdrawn, it sold for double the price on the blackmarket and pirate copies sprang up in Serbia and in neighbouring countries.

Publisher Random House cancelled the novel's release in the United States last month, fearing it "might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence."

Meanwhile, independent UK publisher Gibson Square said last week it would publish the book in October.

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