Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Correspondence

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Correspondence

Article excerpt

Published in the Spring 2009 Middle East Quarterly, pp. 8 1 .

The Jewel of Medina

To the Editor:

I greatly enjoyed Robert Spencer's analysis of Sherry Jones's The Jewel of Medina ("Muhammad and Aisha, a Love Story," Winter 2009), and I agree that Jones attempted to depict Muhammad as a man of character. To me, it is impossible not to perceive the Qur'anic Muhammad as a cunning and lascivious man who would stop at nothing in order to get the woman he wanted, even receiving a timely "divine" revelation that allowed him to marry his own daughter-in-law.

I find, nonetheless, a lapse in Mr. Spencer's analysis: Jewel is written from a Sunni perspective, which can be understood because Aisha's father was not related to Muhammad by blood ties, but Jones does not state that in the book. The founding parents of Shi'ism, Fatima and Ali, are shown as two vulgar people, hungry for power, envious and dangerous, usually acting behind the scenes.

This has the potential to be used to inflame the Shi'a and keep them busy burning American and Israeli flags and attacking Christian churches, embassies, and consulates, especially in Iran where the masses are feeling the consequences of falling oil prices and the rising costs of a nuclear buildup.

It did not take much for radicals to turn the Danish cartoons into an international crisis. It would not be surprising to see the Iranian government and their proxy groups depict The Jewel of Medina as an anti-Shi'i plot. Hopefully this will not happen but, if it does, I do hope that Western governments will stand stronger in defense of free speech and intellectual freedom than some did in the wake of the Danish cartoon crisis. …

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