Islamic Censorship by Default
August 13, 2008
Washington, DC--Random House has called off publication of a historical novel about the Prophet Muhammad's wife Aisha, after the company received advice the book could incite violence by Islamic radicals.
"Random House's decision is the tragic result of America's failure to defend free speech against totalitarian Islam," said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.
"In 1989, when Ayatollah Khomeini called for the execution of Salman Rushdie and Islamists firebombed American bookstores, the United States did nothing. In 2006, when two major book chains refused to sell copies of Free Inquiry magazine featuring the Danish cartoons of Muhammad for fear of Muslim violence, the United States did nothing. Is it any surprise that some Americans are now afraid to publish material that could be deemed 'offensive' to Islam?
"If a publisher faces the prospect of violent reprisals, and knows that the U.S. government will do nothing to protect it, that is censorship--as much as if our own government had shut down Random House's printing presses.
"The American government exists to protect our rights, including our right to free speech. By defaulting on its responsibility, it has allowed theocratic thugs to dictate what Americans can say, write, and publish. It needs to send a message that it will no longer tolerate any threat against the right of Americans to speak freely about any subject, including Islam.
"How much longer will our government allow Islamic radicals to tell us what we can say?