What Would The “Mother Of The Believers” Say?

The Guardian newspaper is reporting today that the London home of Martin Rynja, owner of the independent publishing house, Gibson Square, was firebombed last night. Rynja was uninjured in the attack.[1]

In a recent article entitled, “Another Indication Bin Laden Is Winning”, Sparrow Chat recently wrote of the cowardly decision taken by publishing giant, Random House, to renege on its contract to publish the book, “The Jewel of Medina” by US journalist, Sherry Jones.[2]

Controversy surrounded Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas, who is alleged to have stirred up the Islamic community after being sent a galley of the work for her appreciation.

The novel is based around the life of Aisha, a wife of the Prophet Mohammed, a woman revered among some sections of Islam, though not all.[3] She is known to many Muslims as the “Mother of the Believers”, after a passage in the Qu’ran designating that name to the wives of the Prophet.

Following Random House’s decision, Gibson Square agreed to publish Jones’s book, and it is because of this, it is believed, the fire-bombing took place. Three men have been arrested in connection with the incident.

It can only be hoped that, if found guilty of the crime, these individuals will be incarcerated for a very long time. Their depraved minds and twisted religious ideals have no place in any civilized society. Freedom of speech is an institution in the western world as sacred as any religious text. Those who choose to live in Europe or America, then abuse the hospitality of its people by such violent reactions against social rights and privileges, frequently unavailable in their home nations, deserve to receive the full penalty of the law.

Ms Jones’s book was described by one critic as:

a rarity in Islamic-themed literature: an attempt by a Western woman to fictionalise the personal life of the Prophet and to bring to a wider audience one of the great feminist heroines of the Middle East”

That Denise Spellberg described it as a, “very ugly, stupid piece of work” may cause one to question her motives.

It’s to be hoped this incident will not deter Martin Rynja from his determination to publish the work. I, for one, will look forward to assessing it, and do not expect to find the ugliness and stupidity more likely secreted in Denise Spellberg’s heart, than between the pages of “The Jewel of Medina”.

[1] “Firebomb attack on book publisher” Guardian, September 28th 2008

[2] “Another Indication Bin Laden Is Winning” Sparrow Chat, August 10th 2008

[3] “Prophet Muhammad’s marriage from Aisha” Submission.Org

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