Today was US launch day for the controversial book by Sherry Jones The Jewel Of Medina. Some of the more extreme elements of the Muslim world are incensed that someone could have the audacity to write a novel about Muhammad and his child bride A’isha. The book itself is harmless, it is just a historical novel, but it has produced histrionics from the extreme elements. The firebombing of the British distributors premises are good proof of that.

The rest of the us, the sane world, does not permit such triviality as a book or movie to get our panties in a fatwa! Over the past few years the Catholic church has mumbled and grumbled about Dan Brown and his book The Da Vinci Code, complaining that he portrayed Catholicism in a poor light. They also grumbled up a storm over Mel Gibson and his movie The Passion Of The Christ. Only the serious popeholics payed a blind bit of notice to these dire Vatican warnings. In fact had the Vatican kept their mouths shut, the chances are that neither item would have become the successes that they have become. At the last check, neither Mel Gibson nor Dan Brown have been excommunicated,  or sent to eternal damnation. Life just goes on, you may not agree with what someone says, but if you are a grown up, you listen, you analyze, and you move on.

I have been following the story behind Sherry Jones’s new book The Jewel Of Medina closely. The firebombing of Gibson Square’s premises in London show just how volatile and irascible the lunatic fringe of Islam are.

I was talking to the US and prime publisher of  The Jewel Of Medina, Eric Kampmann,  CEO of Beaufort Books earlier today. And while the story turned out to be amusing, I am sure that at the time he was quite worried.

Last Friday, CBC contacted me to do an interview live at 9 AM this morning. Location 747 Third Ave. All was well. I arrived at the building 20 minutes early only to find that the building itself was surrounded by police cars, rescue trucks and fire engines. Given all the press emanating from the UK about the fire bombing of the Gibson Square office by three or four terrorists, my first thought was….well, you know. Sanity quickly returned, however, since nobody really knew I would be there anyway. And as I soon found out, fire had broken out on the fourth floor of the building.

So, what to do? I phoned my CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) contact and at first, did not get through. However, on the second try, I reached her. She was in the crowd milling about on Third Ave outside the office building. We raised our hands for identity purposes, as we had never met, and quickly found a quiet place off 47th Street for me to transform my live studio interview into an impromptu live street cell phone interview. It worked out fine and I was able to talk about two hot books If I Did It and Jewel of Medina. All in a days work!

I like Eric, he is a character! More importantly, he is not prepared to step down to the pressure exerted from the lunatic fringe.

You can get your copy of The Jewel Of Media from just about any bookstore in the nation.

Simon Barrett

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