Sunday, 28 September 2008

Freedom of Speech under threat - Again!

Freedom of speech is under sustained attack by Islamic radicals as the Muhammad cartoon saga and now this latest development shows. It would appear according to the Telegraph here, that four people have been arrested following an arson attack against a north London publishers. These individuals have taken umbrage at the proposed publication of 'The Jewel of Medina' a fictional novel by Sherry Jones. I have not read Jones work of course and I doubt if the arsonists have either, the novel is about the marriage of Muhammad (the Islamic prophet) to Aisha his youngest wife. Aisha was aged six at the time of her marriage (according to Hadith part of Islam's own Scriptures), when Muhammad married her he was fifty four.

Why should we be worried about this sort of behaviour and doubtless many people will naturally say 'well why should we publish something Muslims don't like?' My point is that as a democracy there is a responsibility to uphold the opinions of those we disagree with and not surrender to the mob. Obvious I know but it's surprisingly easy to see these protests as effective in stifling debate, for instance earlier this year the US publishing group Random House refused to publish Sherry's work stating it 'feared protests'. Also when it comes to Islam the BBC itself is overly cautious as I reported here. The point being friends is the groups that oppose these publications (regardless of whether the publication itself is in good taste), are seeking to replace democracy with theocracy and stifle individual expression and thought.

For what it's worth before some idiot accuses me or indeed the author of 'Jewel of Medina', Jones of 'Islamaphobia', Here is the authority from the Hadith that states Muhammad married a child:

From the collection of BukhariVolume 5, Book 58, Number 236: Narrated Hisham's father: Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed that marriage when she was nine years old.
Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64: Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

Child 'marriage' is routinely practised today in Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, Yemen and Iran. I wonder where they got that idea from?

1 comment:

Todd McLauchlin said...

Wow, I hadn't heard this over in the States. Thanks for posting about it.