Three men seized by armed anti-terrorist officers during an apparent arson attack on the London publisher of a novel featuring the prophet Muhammad were being questioned last night.
In a “pre-planned” operation, detectives arrested the suspects outside the home of Martin Rynja in Islington, north London, after a petrol bomb reportedly exploded. Neighbours described seeing smoke before firemen broke down the front door.
The attack was believed to be linked to the forthcoming publication of The Jewel of Medina, a fictionalised account of the relationship between Muhammad and his child bride A’isha.
The book by Sherry Jones, described by the independent publisher, Gibson Square, as a “historical novel of the love story”, has been at the centre of a growing international dispute.
Announcing his decision to publish the book earlier this year, the publisher, Martin 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.”
I’ve posted about the book and the controversy, recently. None of that bit needs updating.
Frankly, I’d add a bit of criticism for the American expert in Texas who panned a review copy of the book as soft-core porn – and passed her opinion along to Muslim websites. Another dim 21st Century version of Political Correctness.
Face it, though. People who promote violence because of their religion hangups are going to do so regardless of content or context.