NEW YORK — 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 in a firebomb attack on the offices of publisher Gibson Square.
"What had occurred in London we didn't want to have occur here," he said. "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.
After the arrests in London, plans for the British release have stalled.
Jones' debut novel was supposed to be released in the United States in August, but publisher Random House changed its mind after warnings from University of Texas professor Denise Spellberg and others that a small minority of Muslims might respond violently to the book.
Beaufort then signed up the author and is releasing the book with an announced first printing of 50,000.