Sunday, September 28, 2008
Religion Of Peace Firebombs House
From The Guardian:
The London home of the publisher of a controversial new novel that gives a fictionalised account of the Prophet Muhammad's relationship with his child bride, Aisha, was firebombed yesterday, hours after police had warned the man that he could be a target for fanatics.
A petrol bomb is believed to have been thrown through the door of Martin Rynja's £2.5m town house in Islington's Lonsdale Square, which also doubles as the headquarters of his publishing company, Gibson Square. Three men have been arrested on terrorism charges.
The Observer has learned that police told Rynja late on Friday night to leave his property. His company recently made headlines when it announced it was to publish The Jewel of Medina.
Written by US journalist Sherry Jones, the book was due to have been published in August by US giant Random House. But amid controversy the company halted publication, a move denounced by Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, as 'censorship by fear'.
Three men have been held under the Terrorism Act after a suspected petrol bombing at the publishing office which released a controversial novel, 'The Jewel of Medina', about the prophet Muhammad and a child bride.
The suspects, aged 22, 30 and 40, were arrested by armed police early yesterday in Islington, north London. It followed a fire at the offices of Gibson Square publishers, which is run by director Martin Rynja.
Four people were arrested in London yesterday over an alleged terror attack on the publisher of a controversial book on the prophet Muhammad.
The arrests are connected to a fire at a property in Islington, north London, which is used as the home and office of Martin Rynja, a publisher.
His company, Gibson Square, recently bought the rights to a novel which is considered by some to be more controversial than Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. The new book, about the prophet Muhammad and his child bride, is entitled The Jewel of Medina.
The blaze yesterday, which led to people being evacuated from the house, may have been started by a petrol bomb pushed through the letter box.
Random House US, the major publishing group, announced in May this year that it was dropping its plans to publish Sherry Jones's debut novel following warnings that it could incite acts of violence from radical Muslims. The Jewel of the Medina was also pulled from bookshops in Serbia last month after pressure from an Islamic group.
Speaking before yesterday's attack, Mr Rynja said: "In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear. As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate.
"If a novel of quality and skill that casts light on a beautiful subject we know too little of in the West, but have a genuine interest in, cannot be published here, it would truly mean that the clock has been turned back to the dark ages. The Jewel of Medina has become an important barometer of our time."
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