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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Grace like a Shadow by Islam Samhan gets the poet into trouble.

October 22, 2008

by Suzan Abrams

Sorry for having stayed away. I was unwell.

Anyhow, back to blogging with a news clip from the Middle-East.

A 27-year old Jordanian poet, Islam Samhan was arrested yesterday (Oct 21), for the damning contents of his poetry collection called Grace like a Shadow. Samhan had combined Koranic imagery/verses with his love poems and was accused by the Jordanian Government of insulting Islam by wrongly mixing religious verses with sexual connotations. It was revealed that Samhan should have sought approval from the Jordanian government before publishing his book.

Basically to use Quranic verses in the creation of literature is not labelled as a crime in itself but how the usage is perceived to be, by the masses may account for future repercussions. If convicted, Samhan could be sentenced to prison for 2 years.

The poet has appeared shocked at being accused of apostasy. Although he had given poetry recitals to standing ovations not too long ago and the Ministry of Culture itself had purchased 50 copies of his work, Samhan's good fortune was soon overshadowed by rumours of court cases and threatening messages made to his private cell phone number.

It was only a matter of time before the police would come knocking on his door. However if there is one silver lining over this dark cloud, it is that Samhan's poetry collection is now known worldwide and his name suddenly made popular in the Middle East and with major newspapers in the West.

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