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calendar   Sunday - September 28, 2008

Terror arrests linked to controversial Muslim book.  (here we go again?)

Well now this is a big surprise, is it not?

North London terror arrests linked to controversial Muslim book
Four people have been arrested in London over an alleged terror attack on the publisher of a controversial book on the prophet Muhammad.

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
Last Updated: 9:44AM BST 28 Sep 2008

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.

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.”

Mr Rynja added that as a small publisher, Gibson Square would be more capable of handling any controversy. “With a book that is controversial – and we’ve done a number – it is incredibly important that it is looked at from all sides. That is very difficult for a large publisher to do as they are looking at 200 titles a month so a controversial one is just one in the mix.”

He said that he hoped that once people read the novel in its entirety there would be a “healthy discussion” about its content. “[Jones has] done very careful and detailed research for the novel – she’s writing about this love story which even after 1,400 years we don’t know much about.” Mr Rynja was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Ms Jones, also speaking before yesterday’s attack, said that her novel had was not intended to be disrespectful to Islam. “I have deliberately and consciously written respectfully about Islam and Mohammed … I envisaged that my book would be a bridge-builder.”

Random House was told by security experts and academics that the novel, for which it paid a $100,000 (£55,000) advance, was potentially more incendiary than both The Satanic Verses and the Danish newspaper cartoons of Muhammad. Random House decided not to publish the title “for the safety of the author, employees of Random House Inc, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the book”.

(SO .... MUS-SLIMES WIN AGAIN.  NICE TO KNOW THE BASTARDS CAN DICTATE WHAT BOOKS SHOULD BE PUBLISHED IN THE WEST.)

The publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988 saw attempts made on the lives of Rushdie’s Italian and Norwegian publishers, while the Japanese translator of the book was killed.

Police also searched four addresses around north-east London yesterday - two in Walthamstow, one in Ilford and one in Forest Gate.

The men, who were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, were being questioned at a central London police station.

Later yesterday a fourth person, a woman, was arrested at a property in Ilford for allegedly obstructing the police, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said.

The police confirmed that there had been small fire inside the property in Lonsdale Square, which had to be put out. “At this early stage it is being linked with the arrests,” the spokesman added.

Residents in Lonsdale Square said armed police, assisted by fire-fighters, broke down the door to the targeted property at around 2.30 yesterday morning.

Francesca Liebowitz, 16, who lives nearby with her parents, said: “The police couldn’t get the door open so the fire brigade battered it down.

“There was smoke coming from around the door, but I don’t know whether that was because of the door being broken down. They evacuated people from the house. It’s a bit scary to have this happen on your doorstep.”

A neighbour and friend of Mr Rynja said the company normally published books on current affairs, and said the publisher had never expressed concerns that his work might endanger his safety. A green hoarding covered the doorway to the four-storey town house yesterday afternoon.

http://tinyurl.com/3gtdyb


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/28/2008 at 10:57 AM   
Filed Under: • RoPMATerroristsUKWar On Terror •  
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