The Independent's astute and never-less-than-interesting columnist Johann Hari is condemning cowardice. The cowardice that has meant that we are not allowed to read a book. The cowardice that has allowed Islamic threats – even if never uttered – to ensure that we are not allowed to read a book.
We looked at the story of Sherry Jones's book The Jewel of Medina a few last week. Random House pulled it – and have now pulped it, according to Hari – because it dealt with the prepubescent wife of Mohammed, some forty-odd years her senior. She was married at six, and the marriage was consummated – if that's what you can call a relationship in which a man of fifty-three forces himself on a nine-year-old girl – three years later.
Hari points out that, while you can read this story in the Koran and the Hadith (subsequent teachings based on the Koran), you can't now read them in Jones's book. And that comes down to cowardice. And it's time, says the headline above his Independent piece, we stopped "being such cowards about Islam".
You can read the article plus extra bits on Hari's own excellent website.