Sherry Jones is urging people in England to stand up in defense of her unpublished novel, The Jewel of Medina, after the home of its publisher was firebombed last weekend.
As we reported in August, Random House dropped plans to publish the novel about A'isha, the youngest wife of the Prophet Mohammed due to concerns the story "could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."
In London, Gibson Square announced plans to issue the book in October with publisher Martin Rynja issuing a statement of strong commitment:
"I immediately felt that it was imperative to publish it. 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."
Rynja was not hurt in the firebombing of his home. Reports out of London, though, say the book's publication now be in doubt. The Daily Mail quotes Jones saying Rynja is courageous but "cannot fight this all by himself."
"You have to ask whether a thug with a gun or petrol bomb should be allowed to censor the people of Great Britain," Jones said.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that Beaufort Books, which stepped into the void left by Random House, closed its offices Monday to consult with law enforcement.