It's difficult to overstate the cravenness of Random House, the publisher, in relation to the novel, "The Jewel of Medina." Sherry Jones, a former Montana newspaper reporter, decided to write the novel to highlight the prophet Muhammad's sensitive and almost feminine side. It's a fictionalized account of Aisha, one of Muhammad's younger and more beloved wives, and Jones says it illustrates that Muhammad and early Islam had a more liberal view of the place of women and women's rights than some latter-day understandings of Islam do.
So Random House gave her a $100,000 advance and the book was slated to be an August Book of the Month Club selection. But one Middle Eastern studies professor, Denise Spellberg, who has also written about Aisha, said the book was inflammatory and problematic, and demanded that her name be eliminated from the bibliography. She than contacted some Islamic Web sites to ask them to oppose it, and apparently they did.
The best I can figure out, not having read it but only read about it, is that while there are no explicit sex scenes, the novel treats Muhammad and Aisha as sexcual beings Horrors!
Anyway, Random House, having gotten a few complaints, has withdrawn the novel from its publishing schedule. The craven chickenhearts.