22nd October 1999
The Muslim and Jewish communities have been deeply shocked by the demeaning and offensive portrayal of the Biblical and Islamic patriarchs and prophets in the introduction to the Book of Jonah by Alasdair Gray published by Canongate Books.
The references made to a number of Biblical and Islamic personalities indicate a complete lack of understanding of the Old Testament as well as the Quran.
For the Jewish people, Jonah is one of the most significant and relevant books of the Bible. It is recited in its entirety on the most holy day of the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement, in order to underline the eternal message to mankind which it expounds.
The tone of Mr Gray’s introduction is both tendentious and insulting. It shows a complete lack of respect to all those who consider that the Bible and Quran have a positive and significant message for all mankind.
We call upon the publishers to remove this text immediately. It is simply a gratuitous insult and abuse of freedom and expression.
Notes to the Editor:
- The Book is due to be published on 1st November and follows a series on the New Testament
- published in 1998
- For more information contact: The Muslim Council of Britain, Tel: 0208-903 9024,