New York, Aug 15 : Author Salman Rushdie has strongly condemned his publisher for cancelling another writer's historical novel about the Prophet Mohammad and his child bride, fearing that the publication of the book could "incite acts of violence" and anger Muslims.
Rushdie blamed the publisher Random House of abandoning the principle of free speech and caving into pressure from extreme Islamist elements.
"I am very disappointed to hear that my publishers, Random House, have cancelled another author's novel, apparently because of their concerns about possible Islamic reprisals," Rushdie said.
The Jewel of Medina, a debut novel by the US journalist Sherry Jones, was due to have been published, and Random House had reportedly paid Jones a 50,000 pounds advance for two books.
Rushdie, whose "The Satanic Verses" led to a death decree in 1989 from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, called it "censorship by fear," and said "it sets a very bad precedent."
He said that the Random House is allowing itself to be intimidated, Fox News reported.
However, a Random House spokeswoman said that the decision to pull Sherry Jones' debut novel was made with "considerable deliberation and regret."
The publisher had planned to release the book this month, but said that "credible and unrelated sources" warned that the book "could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."