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 Thursday, April 24 2014 @ 06:01 AM BST

More sacrilege The Sword of Medina (2010); The Jewel of Medina (2008) [updated 8th April 2010]

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In 2008 Sherry Jones' literary endeavours yielded 'The Jewel of Medina'. Now in 2010 we have the sequel 'The Sword of Medina' ...

It is creative writing at its most cloy: "His head pressed to my shuddering heart. His stiffened face, as if turned to stone, when I'd laid him in our bed. Now he lay beneath me, buried in my room, the fresh earth moistened by my tears. Exhausted after the long night, I'd fallen asleep atop his grave. Not even the call to morning prayer had roused me....

...from the rooftop rang the muezzin's call to worship, summoning all Muslims to pledge their allegiance. In the doorway I spied the fat, bald-headed al-Abbas lurking like a spy in the shadows. Revulsion sent me out to the courtyard where my sister-wives clustered in the mosque's entryway and watched the goings-on. 'Everyone seems so happy, all of a sudden', drawled Raihana, the Jewess, her haunting, houri eyes turning down at at the corners.

She'd been a gift to Muhammad from his men, a captured princess. Our warriors had killed all the men of her tribe after their leaders had tried to assassinante Muhammad, and her resentment over the deaths of her husband an dsons had gven her a bitter tongue. 'Don't tell me another prophet has risen from the dead....I watched Zaynab walk away with a yearning to join her, to bury my face in my hands and succumb to the anguish of losing Muhammad. By al-Lah, wasn't my grief greater than hers? Hadn't Muhammad loved me best of all his wives. He'd known me all my life...Al-Zubayr clamped his hand around my hair and dragged me into the adjoining room..."


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Jamila Sherif at the Alhambra literary fair [with accounts of Tariq Ramadan and Adhaf Soueif ]

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The 4-day literary Hay Festival at the Alhambra 3-6th April was a unique and highly enjoyable cultural event which included lectures, discussion, poetry recitals, bookstalls, book signings, film showings and music concerts.


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