Who is Going to Bully a Singapore or Protect Singaporeans from Bullies??
Britain's publishers are silenced by Islamist bullies
Last October the London home of Gibson Square publisher Martin Rynja was firebombed because they were planning to publish Sherry Jones's historical novel about the chap the BBC calls simply "the Prophet".
Guess what? The Jewel of Medina will not be published in Britain. The book is now effectively banned in the country of Tom Paine and George Orwell, not by Government order but by religious bullies. Jewel has already come out in seven other countries, including Denmark and Serbia, but Britain is considered too dangerous for anyone who offends Islam.
So even though Somali minicab driver Abbas Taj and two others have been convicted of the crime, they have still won, through intimidation.
Author Sherry Jones writes on her blog:
"As anyone who has read The Jewel of Medina knows, it does not insult Islam - a fact that enrages Islamophobes enough to have one radio talk-show host calling me a 'wack job,' among other flattering names.
"Whether or not my book is respectful, however, has little to do with the real issue here. For, although the extremists lost in court, they have apparently won where it really counts - in the UK’s book stores.
"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.
"Forget the fact that The Jewel of Medina has been published in seven countries, including Denmark, with no threats or repercussions of any kind. Well - OK. In Serbia a conservative mufti protested the book two days after its release last August and issued threats grave enough to cause my publisher there to withdraw it from publication. But that mufti hadn’t read The Jewel of Medina, because he merely repeated false rumors that the book contains 'brutal acts of pornography'.
"The people of Serbia spoke loudly and clearly against censorship. So did the press, and other groups including moderate Muslims. Beobook re-released the sold-out The Jewel of Medina one month after it discontinued publication, and it rocketed to the top of the country’s best-seller lists, where it remained for at least four months. It’s still selling so well that Aleksandar Jasic anticipates a fifth printing in June.
"What made the difference in Serbia? The memory of facist dictator Slobodan Milosevic apparently remains fresh in the public consciousness. Freedom of speech is the same as freedom: 'We believe that this kind of censorship is very dangerous - the next step is that any crazy group in the world can threat to kill someone if the book/article/picture is published,' an editor at the Serbian daily newspaper Blic said to me.
"Despite the efforts of extremist groups, The Jewel of Medina has not been banned in the UK. Nor should it be, in spite of the country’s crackdown on those seen as an insult to Islam. The book isn’t insulting. I had hoped it would be a bridge-builder between non-Muslims and Muslims — something it appears the UK could really use right now.
"These three Muslim thugs who tried to torch the British people’s right to read a book would be easy to shrug off as isolated cases, as simple bullies. The fact is, though, that soon after that attack, extremist groups in the UK exerted an organized effort to keep The Jewel of Medina out of British bookstores. Luke Johnson, chariman of Borders UK, wrote in the Financial Times online that his company had received threats that it would 'suffer' if Borders UK sold The Jewel of Medina.
“'Surely, in a civilised society, we cannot allow thuggish behaviour to intimidate us. Otherwise we could all end up being tyrannised by violent and vocal minorities, cowed into submission in pursuit of a comfortable life. How then would humanity and invention progress?' Mr. Johnson wrote.
The implication is that, given the opportunity, Borders UK would, indeed, sell The Jewel of Medina. Unfortunately, it seems, they won’t have the chance in the near future. The 'thugs' have accomplished their task - and freedom of speech, the first freedom to go when fascism gets a foothold, has taken a blow in the western world."