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Respect for religion now makes censorship the norm - Comments

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 1 by Colwyn Abernathy


"the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community" and that "it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment".

Then we need to protect publishers from easily offended and aggressive numbnuts. Freedom of speech and of the press CANNOT be infringed. Once they fall, freedom of choice and of religion won't be far behind.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 11:16:00 UTC | #244011

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 2 by Colwyn Abernathy

And another thing...what happened to Random House? I had respect for them, as they'd publish just about anything. NOW, tho, it's like they're more than happy to get ahead of the curve and emasculate themselves. Cowards, the lot of 'em.


"You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft-core pornography." Why not? This is one person's subjective view of a novel - it should not be grounds for censorship.

Aye, seriously, why not? Gibson turned the Passion into a Hate-Crime-Jesus-Snuff film, and everybody ate THAT shit up.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 11:24:00 UTC | #244017

AdrianB's Avatar Comment 3 by AdrianB

It is vital, absolutely vital, that freedom defeats intimidation and violence. We seem to be at a tipping point and I fear for the future if we allow these bastards to seize control. Every time I hear a supposed neutral argue that we shouldn't offend, or if we do we deserve what we get, I sense the scales tipping ever further away from us.

There is a fishing lake close to me that has been targeted by animal rights thugs. They appeared on a number of occasions a few weeks ago in their balaclavas, brandishing weapons and making threats. Some of the people fishing, including women and children were pushed into the lake. Nobody was there fishing this weekend despite the nice weather. Why take the risk?

In Egypt 25 years ago women were free to wear whatever they liked, but as Islamic activists have sought to enforce their ideal of Sharia the veil has become commonplace. Many women complain in private about their loss of freedoms, but in public they will put on the veil. Why take the risk?

If publishers are forced to say, "why take the risk" with this book, then what next, The God Delusion and then maybe Harry Potter?

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #244054

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 4 by Cartomancer

"You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft-core pornography."
Actually you can turn just about anything you want into pornography. And they do. I am ashamed to say that my entire knowledge of the works of Charles Dickens comes from seedy porn parodies.

But yes. Free Speech and all that. Jolly good thing...

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #244055

Kiwi's Avatar Comment 5 by Kiwi

If one uses a popular religious figure as a character in a work of fiction, it demonstrates how easy it is to make up text about any religious icon, and so how, the whole edifice is actually man-made.
This is threatening to the belief structure and economics of religionists.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 12:21:00 UTC | #244059

Amnis73's Avatar Comment 6 by Amnis73

Random House = bunch of sissies.

#4 Cartomancer - your Dickens knowledge will probably not be soon forgotten the way mine has been! I find visual aids help me learn better :)

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 12:49:00 UTC | #244079

j.mills's Avatar Comment 7 by j.mills

Jo Glanville is editor of Index on Censorship

I used to read Index On Censorship cover to cover, the standard of journalism was superb. But every issue was packed to the gunwales with Bad News. It shouldn't be left to one little-read crusading magazine to value our rights for us (though at least this article appeared in the Guardian). Why don't we ever hear our politicians talk like this?

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 13:12:00 UTC | #244089

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 8 by rod-the-farmer

This is intolerable. I immediately placed an order for the book from Amazon. Perhaps others can do so as well. It is not clear who the publisher is, but anyone will do. I will also try to send a message of support to the publisher.

(edit to add address)

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 13:16:00 UTC | #244090

Gamma ut's Avatar Comment 9 by Gamma ut

*loud clapping*

Hurray for a well written article!

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 13:20:00 UTC | #244092

j.mills's Avatar Comment 10 by j.mills

Amazon UK has it ranked at 278 in book sales, even though it isn't out till the end of the month. So it looks like the dork-brains' tactics have backfired as usual. :)

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 13:34:00 UTC | #244098

fsm1965's Avatar Comment 11 by fsm1965

nothing like self-censorship to limit our imaginations.

any group that can't be criticised is one step away from collapsing under its own absurdities.....[hopefully]

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 13:35:00 UTC | #244100

jaytee_555's Avatar Comment 12 by jaytee_555

I seem to recall that during the high profile 'Danish cartoons' controversy, the 'Guardian' (along with all the others) declined to publish them.

Perhaps this article is the Guardian's way of trying to redeem itself.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 13:46:00 UTC | #244105

ggab7768's Avatar Comment 13 by ggab7768

Pre-order complete.
Scrape together your pennies guys, this cause is bigger than us. Make the bravery of the publishers mean something.
Put your money where your mouth is.
Walk the walk, don't just talk the talk.
Uh.. additional tired phrases. You get the point.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 14:00:00 UTC | #244113

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 14 by Dr. Strangegod

Emailed the good sir. Thanks Rod.

Now who wants to make some really nasty Mohammed porn? (Don't get too excited, Cartomancer; I only mean to direct.)

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 14:14:00 UTC | #244115

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 15 by Sally Luxmoore

Pre-order completed.
I was curious about this book anyway, despite saying on another thread that it sounded completely crap. (It does, and it probably is, but it won't be the first time I've read a rubbish book)
There's definitely a principle at stake here....

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 14:34:00 UTC | #244120

Stublore's Avatar Comment 16 by Stublore

I'll probably never read it, but by god ;) I'm going to order it XD
Wonder if I can order it through Borders(as there is one locally)

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 14:36:00 UTC | #244122

King of NH's Avatar Comment 17 by King of NH

...the UN human rights council passed a resolution earlier this year condemning defamation of religion and calling for governments to prohibit it.

Fuck your god and the cloud he/she/it rode in on.

There, UN. Now you can come arrest me, throw me in prison, and get back to preventing, oh, you know, stuff like GENOCIDE!!! Maybe help keep babies from starving to death on a poppy farm. No rush. I mean sure. First we have to stop hurting the feelings of other people's imaginary friends. Priorities, I understand.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 14:47:00 UTC | #244126

Patrick McArdle's Avatar Comment 18 by Patrick McArdle

"You can't play with a sacred history and turn it into soft-core pornography."

You could easily turn Chapter 25 of Numbers into a snuff film, simply by shooting the entire thing, as written, without any additions or deletions of any kind. Right-wing defense of marriage at it's finest!

"...the UN human rights council passed a resolution earlier this year condemning defamation of religion and calling for governments to prohibit it."

Which would blatantly contradict the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Would making a snuff film out of Numbers 25 qualify as 'defamation' of the Abrahamic faiths? Telling the unvarnished truth about god-bothering tends to make it look ridiculously absurd, after all.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 15:15:00 UTC | #244136

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 19 by mordacious1

This is not what the organizers of "Banned Books Week" had in mind for the last week of September.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 15:35:00 UTC | #244140

andraste77's Avatar Comment 20 by andraste77

Right, another title for my reading list.

The bible is full of sex and violence, you don't see that getting banned, and if I were in favor of banning books - any books - that'd be in my top five.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 15:41:00 UTC | #244141

Ed-words's Avatar Comment 21 by Ed-words

How about the Left Behind books?

They condemn everyone who won't accept Jesus

at Armaget-it-on.

That's a lot of offended sensibilities.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 15:58:00 UTC | #244146

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 22 by rod-the-farmer

In addition to ordering the book a few hours ago, I will telephone Random House (Canada) tomorrow to express my dismay that they lacked the courage to see this through. I will tell them that I intend to watch all future book purchases I make, and look very hard at anything from Random House. I will in addition explain to my friends & family that they should follow suit.

For editorial and publicity inquiries:
Random House of Canada Limited
One Toronto Street, Unit 300,
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2V6
Tel: (416) 364-4449

The following link has addresses and other contact info for Random House around the world, should any of you wish to call and express your feelings.

When they came for the reading enthusiasts, by that time there was no one left to speak up.....

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:06:00 UTC | #244148

Zzyx1170's Avatar Comment 23 by Zzyx1170


The Telegraph said that Jones, "who has never visited the Middle East, spent several years studying Arab history. The novel, she says, is a synthesis of all she had learnt." Which was, in essence, absolutely nothing about Islam and how it is, by its nature, virulently obsessed with global conquest. Jones apparently had no objection to a barbarian raping a six - or nine-year-old girl, and the "love story" she novelized was woven from whole cloth.

The Wall Street Journal opinion piece, written by Muslim Asra Q. Nomani, even contains an excerpt from Aisha's wedding night: "The pain of consummation soon melted away. Muhammad was so gentle. I hardly felt the scorpion's sting. To be in his arms, skin to skin, was the bliss I had longed for all my life."

All nine years? That kind of writing should have appeared in a Harlequin Romance style bodice-ripper that celebrated pedophilia and child molestation. But, under the imprint of a major publisher, Ballantine, a subsidiary of Random House?

But Jones' ignorance of and naiveté about Islam and the publisher's tastelessness are irrelevant. Random House ought to have been free to publish her novel without fear of consequence, except for the probable loss of its investment in the book. (Jones received a $100,000 advance for that title and a sequel.) More likely than making waves as a literary work, it would have been lost in the swamp of undifferentiated fiction that publishers gurgitate every year. Muslims who might have objected to it - their "sensitivities" or feelings having been abused - might not have even become aware of its existence.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:10:00 UTC | #244150

Tack's Avatar Comment 24 by Tack

Even the title has been self-censored. It should read "Fear of Islam now makes censorship the norm."

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:16:00 UTC | #244153

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 25 by perkyjay

Have just ordered one copy of this book for each of my six married kids, my six grandkids( all in their late teens or older) my wife, and myself.Take that, you Islamic fundies.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:20:00 UTC | #244156

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 26 by Frankus1122

On the Irshad Manji website there is a quotation that I think she got from Ayan Hirsi Ali.

"Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the recognition that some things are more important than fear."

You could easily turn Chapter 25 of Numbers into a snuff film, simply by shooting the entire thing, as written, without any additions or deletions of any kind.

I think it was this passage that was turned into a comic strip and illustrator was taken to court for violating the decency laws in... some country. It was reproduced in Everything You Know About God is Wrong, which I don't happen to have here at the moment. I think I've seen it pop up in the sidebar here before the makeover.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:25:00 UTC | #244158

Daniella's Avatar Comment 27 by Daniella

While I'm all for freedom of speech and people should be able to write about whatever the hell they want but...and call me a cynic... it seems like the Muslim angle has been added to create attention to what would otherwise be a piece of chick lit fluff that probably would not have been a blip on any literary radar.
Already several people on this post have stated that they are going to buy it ? Are you buying it because you are genuinely interested in the book or because it is controversial?

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:29:00 UTC | #244160

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 29 by Frankus1122

Rod the Farmer,

I will tell them that I intend to watch all future book purchases I make

I will pass this on to my librarian network. We generally don't take banning books too lightly. And surprisingly librarians can be a rather forceful group.

I will be sure to make my views known to Random House who attend the Ontario Library Association Superconference each year.
I also have some contact information from the Freedom to Read people I picked up at the Word on the Street festival in Toronto last weekend. I'll see what they have to say.

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:34:00 UTC | #244162

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 28 by KRKBAB

Daniella- people (on this site) aren't buying it because it's controversial, but because it supports free press and speech- how is that not utterly obvious?

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:34:00 UTC | #244161

j.mills's Avatar Comment 30 by j.mills

Those people buying it are making an admirable stand for free speech. But by the same token, if they read it and find it to be crap, they should say so on an amazon review. Giving one in the eye to the self-appointed censors doesn't mean you have to do the writer any favours. (She's already got your money!)

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 16:40:00 UTC | #244167