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Mr. Speaker, our country takes pride in the first amendment right of free speech and free press, but it seems that philosophy is no longer applicable when it comes to criticizing certain religions.

   Random House Publishing has decided not to print the novel ``The Jewel of Medina'' because Islamic radicals are a bit upset. Apparently, American author Sherry Jones hurt some feelings by writing a fiction book about Muhammad's child bride Aisha. Now Random House has been intimidated into not publishing the book because a small radical group of Islamic individuals object. Random House has given in to the threats of the religious speech and press police.

   Author Salman Rushdie, who was threatened by these same type of individuals years ago because of his book, ``The Satanic Verses,'' said that, ``This is censorship by fear.''

These Islamic radicals go throughout the world and denounce free speech and free press if the content is critical of Islam. Further, they demand censorship of the offensive material. Radicals cannot control and suppress the first amendment because they don't agree with what people say or print. Too bad book publishers have given up their right to a free press because now a novel offends some religious group.

   And that's just the way it is.

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