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Aug 8

Written by: Diana West
Friday, August 08, 2008 5:51 AM 

Sherry Jones is an unlikely martyr of free speech in that her censored book, the cover of which (above) I found lingering in the line-up at Amazon UK,  sounds like tripe of the more rancid kind. That is, the only bit of it to make it into print so far is a snatch of  a scene in which Mohammed's marriage with child-bride Aisha is consummated in that risible, "soft core" pornographic style perfected by today's "romance" writers. According to the historical record, Aisha was nine years old at the time. We don't know if Jones has adhered to this part of the record, but if she has, no layering on of hearts and flowers can cover up the fact that what is being depicted is a bona fide act of pedophilia according to Western law.

This doesn't make pleasant reading for most of us. But this isn't one of those familiar free speech cases in which Voltaire is trotted out to say,  "I detest what you write but will defend to the death your right to say it." This is something completely different. In this singular case, the censorship that caused the storeyed, publishing colossus Random House to pull a book from its list shortly before publication date isn't being imposed by our laws or cultural currents. In this case, the censorship is being imposed from outside our own legal and cultural traditions. It is being  imposed by the legal and cultural traditions of Islam. And it is being implemented by the thuggish suggestion of violence coming from Islamic "extremists" toward any and all people connected with the publication of the book. In other words, this is a case of the blackmail of one culture (the West) by another (Islam).

I wrote about the story this week, using the example of Solzhenitsyn to highlight the cravenness of the US publisher. But that's not the end of the story--or, at least, it shouldn't be. Random House, a key component in the workings of free speech in the Western world, has been dictated to by just  the threat of jihad in the air. What next? Has anyone noticed? Does anyone--say, editorial writers, free speech advocates, city fathers, the PTA. Congress or maybe even our two presidential hopefuls--even care?   



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