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Author's anger over 'censorship' of suicide bomber novel

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Author's anger over 'censorship' of suicide bomber novel

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Communities

Author's anger over 'censorship' of suicide bomber novel Author's anger over 'censorship' of suicide bomber novel

A former recipient of the Muslim Writer of the Year Award, has expressed his 'anger and dismay' following what he says is the censorship of his debut novel.

The Muslim Writers Awards, which claims to be a non-religious initiative, chose not to submit the controversial novel by Dr Max Malik to the project’s independent judging panel for this year’s awards.

Dr Malik (pictured) was winner of the top prize in 2007, and was spurred on by his success to dedicate a year of his life to “The Butterfly Hunter” – an explosive work of fiction which he says frankly explores the “Clash of Civilisations” expounded by Islamic extremists.

The book also covers controversial issues facing Britain’s Muslim community today – including suicide bombing, drug abuse, paedophilia and sexual assault.

The unpublished novel was submitted for review to the Muslim Writers Awards 2008. However, despite the book being shortlisted, the organisers of the initiative did not forward Max’s work to the independent panel of judges – which included respected authors and publishers.

Dr Malik explained: “I’d received very positive feedback from organisers of the MWA and, being a previous winner, was advised I was hot favourite to win for a second year running.

"However, when I asked the judges for feedback on my novel they told me that it had not been included in the submissions they were asked to judge. It was only then that I realised my work was being censored by the Muslims Writers Awards project.

“I’m angry at the treatment I’ve received  because my creative effort is being treated as if it’s somehow unclean and unworthy. Clearly, the Muslim Writers Awards has decided that the novel is so unpalatable for them that it needs to be buried.

“I’m deeply dismayed that a project like this, which is supposed to unearth new talent and celebrate artistic expression, has been hijacked by the puritan mindset.

"Yes it’s true that not all the Muslim characters in my book are model citizens. However, this is just a reflection of the realities we face today.

“It’s unseemly that my novel is being treated as if it’s the second coming of The Satanic Verses. I have created a work of fiction, which is neither blasphemous nor disrespectful towards any particular group or individual.”

This year's awards attracted over 10,000 submissions and guests of honour at the ceremony included the singer Jermaine Jackson and Baroness Warsi, the shadow minister for community cohesion.

Imran Akram, chief executive of the 2008 awards, said: "Dr Malik's submission was certainly one of the best we received in 2008, and was rightly short-listed along with four other unpublished novelists.

"Following investigation, it is clear that his work was not submitted to the judges as it should have been."

Saying he was still investigating the matter, Mr Akram stressed he had "great respect" for Dr Malik's writing.

He said: "The Muslim Writers Awards project does not condone censorship, as we do not believe in stifling individuals' right to artistic self-expression."
 

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