Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Islam Samhan, poet and journalist, was placed into custody this week for publishing a book without government authorization, and for blasphemy.

Islam Samhan, 27, whose name translates as ‘Tolerant Islam’, published a collection of his poems several months ago. The volume of poetry, In A Slim Shadow, received a web site criticism that the volume insulted Islam.

Suha Philip Ma’ayeh, Foreign Correspondent for The National,
“Noah Alqdah, Jordan’s grand mufti, the kingdom’s highest religious authority, called the poet an apostate and enemy of religion for his poetry, some of which included lines comparing his loneliness to that of the prophet Yusuf in the Quran.”
All copies of his book had been removed from bookshelves throughout the country. Samhan claims innocence, claiming the defence of metaphor.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics asserts that metaphor is a “a condensed verbal relation which an idea, image, or symbol may, by the presence of one or more other ideas, images or symbols, be enhanced in vividness, complexity, or breadth of implication.”
Abdullah Hammoudeh, head of the Jordanian Writers Association’s freedoms committee, attended Samhan’s initial court session, and afterwards, said that Samhan “explained in court that there were verses from the Quran because it was in Arabic, which is the language of the Quran… and when he used the word ‘gods’ in his lines, it was a reference to the Greek mythology because the word God cannot be plural in Arabic.” So there!

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