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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

German author sues Random House for refusing to publish controversial book on Islam

The publisher has axed the book by former banker and politician Thilo Sarrazin

Former banker and politician Thilo Sarrazin
Former banker and politician Thilo Sarrazin

A German author is suing Random House after the publishing company refused to publish his new book on Islam over fears it will fuel anti-Muslim sentiment.

Thilo Sarrazin, a former banker and finance minister, was due to have Hostile Takeover- How Islam Hampers Progress and Threatens Society published by August.

The dispute about the book- billed as a critical close reading of the Quran- is due to be heard before a court in Munich on Monday, according to Bild Zeitung.

Mr Sarrazin said he signed a contract with Random House in November 2016 and he delivered the manuscript in February this year.

Bild quoted the 73-year-old as saying there had been “a lot of back and forth about the publishing date” before the publisher decided in May not to publish the book at all.

The newspaper said sources at Random House thought the book would “seize on and amplify anti-Islam sentiments".

Mr Sarrazin’s book Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany is Digging its Own Grave) caused controversy in 2010 because it claimed Germany was being dumbed down by uneducated migrants.

Deutschland schafft sich ab, which became a best-seller, was endorsed by the anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

The AfD, which was founded in 2013, have been enjoying increased electoral success recently, sending nearly 100 deputies to the German parliament in 2017. The party invited Mr Sarrazin to speak in front of the Bundestag in last year.

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Confirming the dispute, Random House said the new book was "unannounced" and said it had "neither the intention of stopping it nor blocking its publication" in a statement published on Friday.

"The author is free to publish his book at any time with another house," it added.