Three men have been convicted in the September 2008 arson at the office of Martin Rynja, whose Gibson Square publishing house published The Jewel of Medina, a novel about Aisha, the child bride of the Prophet Mohammed.
According to a London Times article, two men admitted their roles in the attack, which involved poring diesel into Rynja's mail slot and lighting it on fire. No one was injured. A third man, who was alleged to be the getaway driver, was convicted by a jury this week. The Times quoted John McDowall, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command describing what investigators learned about the suspects:
"Photographs, tapes and documents found at their homes showed the violent mindset of this trio of arsonists. This was a professional, proactive investigation which left Ali Beheshti and Abrar Mirza with no choice but to admit their guilt when faced with overwhelming evidence."
One suspect, Ali Behesti attracted police attention in 2006 after attending protests against Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. There, he held banners that promised to "Massacre those who insult Islam" and dressing his 20-month-old daughter in a hat that read "I love al-Qaeda."
Random House withdrew plans to publish the novel in the U.S. last year after concerns the story might prompt a violent backlash from some Muslims similar to the Danish cartoon controversy. Beaufort Books snapped up domestic rights to the book last fall.