Publish and be bombed?

I’ve just heard the horrific news of the attack on Martin Rynja’s home in Lonsdale Square.

The assumption is that Martin was the target because his publishing house – Gibson Square – is to publish The Princess of Jewel of Medina a novel about Mohammed’s child bride. The novel has already attracted pre-publication controversy after Random House backed out.

This attack is so shocking – and depressing. As a Christian, I demand the right to express my faith in any country on earth; and I defend the right of other faiths to do the same. But as a liberal I know that the same freedom that allows me to worship, also allows others to express views that may offend my faith. Freedom is indivisible, bombs unacceptable.

We can’t pick and choose the rights we defend; and we can’t pick and choose the views we allow to be heard. The best way to fight extremism is with words, not swords. Witness the humiliation of the BNP in last week’s Hampstead by-election.

Extreme Islamists who turn to violence in the face of different views betray the peaceful majority of Muslims. Those who use this as an excuse to condemn all Muslims or all people of faith are just as extreme and just as wrong.

I cannot do better than quote Martin’s own words: “In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear.”


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