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QUICK TAKES

'Medina' to hit stores early

October 03, 2008|From the Associated Press

With British publication in doubt for Sherry Jones' "The Jewel of Medina," the U.S. publisher of her controversial novel about the prophet Muhammad has moved up the release date from Oct. 15 to Monday.

"By speeding up the publication, we wanted to reduce or eliminate the chance of violence," Eric Kampmann, president of Beaufort Books, said Thursday, noting that three men were arrested in London last weekend for a fire-bomb attack on the offices of publisher Gibson Square.

"What had occurred in London, we didn't want to have occur here. We wanted people to have a chance to read the book. Once they read the book, we thought the violence part of this story would disappear and people would be focusing on the story, and the book and Sherry."

Kampmann said he knew of no threats in the United States. Jones said she was not concerned about her safety.

The novel is about Aisha, who according to tradition was 9 when she became the wife of the prophet Muhammad, and later a political and military leader in her own right. Jones has completed a sequel about Aisha's adult life that Beaufort plans to publish next year.

Jones so far has appearances scheduled in Spokane, Wash., where she lives, and at the Montana Festival of the Book, in Missoula. Barnes & Noble Inc. does not plan to have Jones read at any of its stores but will stock the novel.

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