UPDATE: Publisher Now In Hiding After Muslim Death Threat
Publisher Martin Rynja is now in hiding after Muslim extremists pronounce sentence of death if he goes ahead with the publication of 'The Jewel of Medina'.
Muslim extremists have warned the publisher of a novel about the prophet Mohammed that he faces death after police foiled a firebomb attack on his home.
Last night Martin Rynja was under armed guard at a secret location after three men dressed in black poured petrol through the letterbox of his £2.5million house at the weekend.
The attack follows his decision to publish The Jewel Of Medina, a fictional account of the Prophet's child bride.
The novel includes a description of the night they consummate their marriage, described by one academic as 'soft core pornography'.
Yesterday the right-hand man of preacher of hate Omar Bakri said the fire-bombing was the 'thin end of the wedge'.
Anjem Choudary, a former member of radical Islamist group al-Mujaharoun, said: 'This book is an attack on the honour of Mohammed. It is clearly stipulated in Muslim law that any kind of attack on his honour carries the death penalty.
'People should be aware of the consequences they might face when producing material like this. They should know the depth of feeling it might provoke.
'If the publication goes ahead then I think, inevitably, there will be more attacks like this. The repercussions will be very severe for everyone associated with it. It is not me that is doing petrol bombing, but I understand their feelings.'
Original Story: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie saw the author and publishers being subject to threats and indeed actions from some Muslim extremist groups and now a new book 'The Jewel of Medina' by Sherry Jones looks set to ignite perhaps even more controversy. The publisher Martin Rynja has had his house fire bombed and this has led to three men being arrested under suspicion of terrorist activity.
The book is a work of fiction that uses the story of Aisha the prophet Muhammed's wife who married him at age 9 as its focal point. Many Muslim's find this an offence to Islam whilst the publisher and others feel that as a statement from Rynjna states:
"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."
American publishers Random House initially bought the rights to this book but pulled out after threats from some Islamic groups leaving the way for the small publisher Gibson Square owned by Mr. Ryjna to step in and publish the book.
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 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.
Initially, three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were detained at around 2.25am yesterday after a fire broke out at a property in Lonsdale Square, Islington. Two were stopped by armed officers in Lonsdale Square, and the third was seized when a car was stopped by armed police near Angel underground station.
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.
Gibson Square, which has previously published other controversial books, bought the rights to Jones's book after Random House pulled out. It paid what it described as a "compelling" advance to acquire The Jewel of Medina. The book will be published by Gibson Square next month [October] in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. In the US, the book will be published by Beaufort Books.