Jewel of Medina Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Mohammed novel: Salman Rushdie defends books that challenge religion

Mohammed novel: Salman Rushdie defends books that challenge religion

Satanic Verses author Sir Salman Rushdie has spoken of the need to ask questions about religion in the wake of the row about a new book on the Prophet Mohammed.

Sir Salman, who himself spent 10 years in hiding over the controversy sparked by his book featuring the Prophet, said he still did not regret writing it.

He said he “wouldn’t not have wanted” to be the writer that asked questions about religion and civilisation.

But the avowed atheist insisted he had nothing against religion provided it did not spill over into the public arena and become “my business”.

He has criticised his own publishers Random House for getting cold feet over publishing the Jewel of Medina in the US after warnings of violent reprisals.

“I am very disappointed to hear that Random House has cancelled another author’s novel, apparently because of their concerns about possible Islamic reprisals,” he said in August. “This is censorship by fear and it sets a very bad precedent indeed.”

The Jewel of Medina and the response to it has already been compared to the furore surrounding the publication of the Satanic Verses, which saw Sir Salman forced to go into hiding after the Iranian Ayatollah issued a fatwa that it was the duty of all Muslims to murder him.

The latest book focuses on Mohammed’s relationship with his young bride Aisha and is written by American Sherry Jones.

Following a suggestion that it amounted to “soft pornography”, the north London home of its British publisher were firebombed. The boss of the publishing house has been forced to seek police protection.

– Source: Mohammed novel: Salman Rushdie defends books that challenge religion, Aislinn Simpson, Telegraph, Oct. 1, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also:

Why Random House cancelled publication of a novel about the child bride of Mohamed


Muslims — or those extremists and hate criminals claiming to be Muslims — will have to learn that most civilized countries will never submit to Islam, will never be under Islamic rule, and will continue to value and ensure freedoms that Muslim extremist hate so much.

Resorting to hate speech, threats and acts of terrorism is just moronic to the nth degree — and if these extremists think that kind of behavior buys them a ticket to paradise, they should have their heads examined.

Muslim terrorists arrested for arson attack at publisher’s home

Arson attack on publisher of book on Prophet’s wife

Police are holding three suspected terrorists after a weekend arson attack at the London home of the publisher of a novel about the Prophet Mohamed’s child bride.

Two men were arrested by armed police outside the house in Islington, north London, and a third was detained outside a nearby Underground station. The fire was quickly put out after the fire brigade smashed the front door. The publisher, Martin Rynja, 44, was unhurt.

Scotland Yard described the operation as being “intelligence-led”, implying that the gang were being followed by undercover police.

Mr Rynja is director of Gibson Square, an independent publishing house which earlier this month announced it planned to release The Jewel of the Medina in Britain. He could not be contacted yesterday, and is thought to be under police protection.

The novel, by the American author Sherry Jones, was pulled by publishers in the US over fears it would anger Muslims, while a publisher in Serbia withdrew it from the shelves after protests from Islamic leaders, who said it insulted Mohamed and his family.

Islam and Terrorism
Islamic terrorism is inspired by the concept of ‘lesser Jihad’ (holy warfare against the enemies of Allah and Islam). Muslims disagree among each other as to what is or is not acceptable in ‘lesser Jihad.’ For instance, while many Muslims speak out against terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam, others approve of such acts under certain conditions. […more…]

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The three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, and are being questioned at a London police station. Officers also searched four properties in north-east London – two in Walthamstow, one in Ilford and one in Forest Gate.

Announcing the publication of The Jewel of the Medina earlier this month, Mr Rynja said he felt such books were important in a liberal democracy. “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 the Medina has become an important barometer of our time,” he said.

In an interview with a German newspaper, the author dismissed the idea that her work – which focuses on the relationship between Mohamed and his wife, Aisha – would provoke a violent response. “To claim that Muslims will answer my book with violence is pure nonsense,” she said.

Her agent, Natasha Kern, said: “There are many misconceptions about this book floating around the internet, including that it is a romance novel or that it focuses on sexual content. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

– Source: Arson attack on publisher of book on Prophet’s wife, Andy McSmith, The Independent (UK), Sep. 29, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

The Metropolitan police said the target of the assassination plot, the Dutch publisher Martin Rynja, had not been injured.

The foiled terrorist attack recalled the death threats and uproar 20 years ago following the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and the worldwide protests that followed the publication in a Danish newspaper in 2005 of cartoons deemed offensive to Islam, in which more than 100 people died.

Two of the suspects were arrested in the street outside Rynja’s four-storey townhouse in Lonsdale Square, Islington, while the third was stopped by officers in an armed vehicle near Angel Tube station.

They were being questioned yesterday on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, a spokesman said.

Rynja, 44, could not be contacted yesterday. He is believed to be under police guard.

Yesterday, Natasha Kern, Jones’s agent, said she was shocked to learn of the attack. She said the book had been misinterpreted by its critics and did not contain sex scenes, as had been alleged.

“I honestly believe that if people read the book they will see it is not disrespectful of Muhammad, and moderate Muslims will not be offended. I don’t want anyone to risk their lives but we could never imagine that there would be some madmen who would do something like this. I’m so sad about this act of terrorism. Moderate Muslims will suffer because of a few radicals.”

Kern said it was too early for her to comment on whether the book should be withdrawn. “That’s up to Martin, and I still need to absorb the fact that he was at risk. I’m just so glad he has not been hurt.”

– Source: Muslim gang firebombs publisher of Allah novel, Martin Rynja, David Leppard, The Times (UK), Sep. 28, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Our View:

We should not let the religious insanity of hate criminals dictate what we can and can not publish, say, paint, sing, or otherwise produce. Islam — especially the kind of Islam promoted by these despicable creatures — does not deserve special status in the world. Adherents of every Islamic sect, whether ‘moderate’ or not, should be made to realize that civilized countries will never allow their citizens to be ruled by Islamic law or principles.

As for Religion News Blog, we file news like this under the heading ‘Religious Insanity,’ due to our belief that no sane person can think or act like this:

Radical Islamic clerics warn of further attacks after publisher is firebombed

Hardline clerics said that further attacks would be “inevitable” if publication of the novel, The Jewel of Medina, goes ahead as planned next month.

Police moved in to arrest three men moments after a fire broke out at the London home and office of Martin Rynja in the early hours of Saturday.

The attack came days after Mr Rynja’s company, Gibson Square, bought the rights to the book by the American writer Sherry Jones, which has already been likened to Sir Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

The novel, which focuses on the relationship between Mohammed and his child bride Aisha, was recently dropped from publication in the United States by the publishers Random House amid fears that it would anger Muslims.

Mr Rynja, who is described by friends as “taking on projects where others fear to tread” has published several books by controversial authors including Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy who was poisoned in London after becoming an outspoken critic of the country’s prime minister and former president Vladimir Putin.

Buying the British and Commonwealth rights to the Sherry Jones novel last week, Mr Rynja described it as a “moving love story”.

But the radical cleric Anjem Choudhary said the book was an insult to the Prophet Mohammed’s honour, something he said would warrant a “death penalty” under Sharia law.

“It is clearly stipulated in Muslim law that any kind of attack on his honour carries the death penalty,” he said.

“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.”

He denied any involvement in the attack but said he “understood” the feelings of the perpetrators.

“If the publication goes ahead then I think, inevitably, there will be more attacks like this – this is the thin of the wedge,” he said.

Speaking from Lebanon, the radical cleric Omar Bakri, added: “If anybody attacks that man I cannot myself condemn it.”

– Source: Radical Islamic clerics warn of further attacks after publisher is firebombed, John Bingham, Telegraph (UK), Sep. 28, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog