Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now

How Publishers Are Already Taking Action Against Trump’s “Muslim Ban”

Comma Press is the first publisher to respond to the “Muslim ban” with a pledge to spend 2018 exclusively publishing work from the seven countries whose citizens are currently barred from entering the U.S.

“We have decided to feature on our translation imprint only writers from the countries affected by the ban – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen,” the publisher announced on its website.

“If the only narrative America wants to export right now is the narrative of hate, then we need to look elsewhere,” Comma CEO Ra Page told The Guardian.

“We need to consciously turn our backs on the circus that America is descending into,” he said. “We need to fight this. And make no mistake it will be a fight.”

Comma is developing an imprint devoted to Arabic short-story writers. It has published seven Arabic titles in translation so far.

“We choose to stand in solidarity with a number of our writers who are directly affected by the ban, including all 20 contributors to two prose collections. Hassan Blasim, the Iraqi-born writer and broadcaster, is now unable to travel to the US, despite huge success there with his 2014 novel The Iraqi Christ,” the publisher wrote on its website.

Based in Manchester, UK, Comma describes itself as a “not-for-profit publishing initiative dedicated to developing new writing, with an emphasis on short narrative forms.” On Twitter, U.S-based translators called on American publishers to respond to the “Muslim ban” in a similar way, by publishing work by writers from “banned” countries.

Aviya Kushner is The Forward’s language columnist and the author of The Grammar of God (Spiegel & Grau 2015.) Follow her on Twitter at @AviyaKushner


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.