Monday, 18 May 2009

Jewel of Medina unlikely to be published in UK

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly):

Just days after the men who firebombed the home of Martin Rynja, owner of publishers Gibson Square, were found guilty, we learn that the book they were so angry about, The Jewel Of Medina by Sherry Jones, is still without a UK publisher and seems unlikely to get one any time soon.

This worrying news comes via Jones's own blog, in which she describes the attempts to get the book published in this country in the wake of the attack on Rynja's home:

'After Gibson Square’s publisher announced, a couple of weeks after the arson attempt, that he was indefinitely postponing publication of “The Jewel of Medina” — following in the footsteps of Random House in the U.S. — I awarded world English publication rights to Beaufort Books, my U.S. publishing house whose publisher and small staff have supported my book unwaveringly, despite hate male, lawsuit threats, and Mr. Choudary’s own assertion that not only I, but my publishers, might deserve to die.

Beaufort publisher Eric Kampmann and associate publisher Margot Atwell headed to the London Book Fair in April with a full display of “The Jewel of Medina” and confidence that they would find the right distributor to supply stores in the U.K. with the book. But — no. Everyone, it seems, is too afraid.'

All of which means that the erstwhile firebombers can head to jail safe in the knowledge that they achieved their objective when they tried to murder Rynja and his family last year. They may have failed to burn his house to the ground, but they managed to stifle free speech. As Kenan Malik argues in his new book From Fatwa to Jihad, "in the two decades between the publication of The Satanic Verses and the pulling of The Jewel of Medina [Ayatollah Khomeini's] fatwa has effectively been internalised".


DavidMWW said...

While I largely agree with Malik's hypothesis that censorship has been internalised since the Rushdie fatwa, this case is not a very good example.

Rynja clearly had not internalised the fatwa. He was very willing to publish this book before those clowns made an attempt on his life. Only now is he self-censoring.

If anything, this shows that the fatwa needs to be constantly "policed" by men like these diesel bombers - just to make sure the non-believers don't forget to show due deference.