3 diesel bombers convicted, and Jewel of Medina to be published in October
Three men upset about a perceived slight to their dead hero have been found guilty of recklessly damaging property and endangering life.
Ali Beheshti, 41, Abrar Mirza, 23, and Abbas Taj, 31, conspired to firebomb the house of publisher Martin Rynja. Rynja’s Gibson Square Books had been planning to publish The Jewel of Medina, which is a semi-fictional account of the inventor of Islam’s relationship with his child bride, Aisha.
We all know how distressing it is when people don’t treat your long-dead warrior-prophet with suitable deference, so it is understandable that the trio decided to punish the publisher by pouring diesel through his letter box and trying to set fire to it.
Fortunately – and perhaps unsurprisingly – the three weren’t in possession of the cleverest heads ever to butt a rug, and had been under police surveillance for days. Taj, the driver, tried to plead not guilty, claiming that he had just given his mates a lift without any idea of what they were up to. The jury were not convinced.
On the way to the publisher’s home, Beheshti, a former member of the banned al-Muhajiroun, rallied the spirits of his fellows with the inspiring words,
You know what we gotta do, anyway, innit?
An old hand in the art of holy war, Beheshti had been involved in the Motoon protests in 2006 when he burned himself attempting to set fire to a picture of George Bush. This may explain why they decided to use diesel in the Gibson Square operation – they might have hurt themselves if they had used petrol.
According to this BBC video report, The Jewel of Medina will be published in October. Doh!
UPDATE: (18 May) Unfortunately, the BBC report above is contradicted by the author herself, Sherry Jones, on her blog.
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.
(Hat tip: The New Humanist)