Sisters In Islam (SIS) organised a forum for August 19 2008, to protest the issue of book banning in Malaysia. They invited all friends, academicians and supporters to attend the press conference.
On 14 August 2008, the Malaysia media organisations announced that the Ministry of Home Affairs had banned two books, namely, "Pelik Tapi Benar Dalam Solat" (Strange but True Elements in Solat Prayers) by Ustaz Abdul Rahman Mohamed, published by Telaga Biru Sdn Bhd, and another "Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism" by Norani Othman and published by Sisters in Islam, Petaling Jaya and printed by Vinlin Press, Bandar Baru, Seri Petaling.
The only vague reason given was the book "contains twisted facts on Islam that could undermine the faith of Muslims". It came with a prohibition order under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and if any individuals found to be in possession, do reprints, or distribute the publications will be jailed not more than three years or fine not more than RM 20,000 or both.
There was no communication with SIS prior to the media announcement. The book was actually published in 2005 and has been widely distributed in many countries. So why the sudden ban.
The forum discussed the banning of books by the Ministry, and one of the main concerns was the fact that no clear reasons are given, instead just a standard letter is issued.
Also as Malaysia celebrates its 51st Merkdeka, or Independence, it seems ironic that many books are still banned, suggesting the population are still too immature after 51 years to decide what they can and cannot read. It is time to change the media laws.
Another issue was that Islam discriminates against women, and social attitudes limit the legal rights of Islamic women in many countries. SIS want to see a modern Islam, with a gentle, friendly and civil attitude to women.
The forum was attended by about 60 people and presented a good case about book banning in Malaysia.
Book banning = book burning
Update Jan 26 2010
Court lifts ban on SIS book
The High Court lifted a Home Minister’s ban of a book entitled Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism.
Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof ruled that the 215-page book was not a threat to public order in a judicial review application by Sisters in Islam (SIS) Forum (Malaysia).
In his grounds, Justice Mohamad Ariff held that only seven of the 215 pages were said to have offended the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) guidelines.
Among other things, the department had voiced concern that the book had the tendency to confuse Muslims with shallow knowledge of the religion because the writers had written the articles based on their own views.
“Is this public order reason? I think not. I fail to find the objective evidence to support facts,” said Justice Mohamad Ariff yesterday.
Reception desk -
|the banned book cover|
See blog on SIS present postcards against book banning.
© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission