Sherry Jones, whose historical novel about the Prophet Muhammad's favorite wife, Aisha, was dropped by Random House in August over fear of reactions from Muslims, may yet become another Salman Rushdie. The book, "The Jewel of Medina," was picked up by London publisher Gibson Square with plans for an October release. But on Sept. 26, a firebomb found its way inside the $5 million townhouse of Gibson Square's owner, Martin Rynja. Rynja, whose publishing house operates from his home, wasn't there at the time—reportedly, he'd been warned by authorities of the plot—and police rounded up three men, ages 22, 30 and 40, who were found at or fleeing the scene.
While neither Rynja nor "Jewel's" U.S. publisher, Beaufort Books, could be reached for comment, Jones's agent has said the attack failed to derail publication plans, an indication that the author and her team aren't backing down. But it's worrisome that the same can likely be said for those intent on destroying "Jewel": Islamic radical Anjem Choudhary—a prominent apologist for the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks—has appeared on television to denounce the book as "soft pornography" and predicted a reaction of "capital punishment," lumping Jones's name in with those of other targeted artists like Hirsi Ali, Theo van Gogh and Rushdie himself. Afterward, Choudhary added he wasn't personally threatening anyone—small comfort for the writer.