Last Update 22:47
Thursday, 19 October 2017

Malaysia ban on 'moderate Islam book' sparks criticism

The book was the brainchild of a group of high-ranking former civil servants and diplomats known as the 'G25', which was formed to push back against intolerance

AFP , Wednesday 2 Aug 2017
Share/Bookmark
Views: 4060
Share/Bookmark
Views: 4060

Activists and authors in Muslim-majority Malaysia reacted with outrage Tuesday after authorities banned a book aimed at promoting moderate Islam, as concerns mount about growing conservatism.

The book, "Breaking The Silence: Voices Of Moderation -- Islam In A Constitutional Democracy", is a collection of essays whose publication was organised by a group of prominent Muslim Malaysians pushing a more tolerant form of Islam.

The ban, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said that printing or possessing the book was "likely to be prejudicial to public order" and "likely to alarm public opinion".

Anyone breaching the ban on the book -- which was published in neighbouring Singapore -- can be jailed for up to three years.

Malaysia routinely bans books, movies and songs that may contain sensitive material regarding religion or sex, but critics say the government has been clamping down harder in recent times.

The book was the brainchild of a group of high-ranking former civil servants and diplomats known as the "G25" -- for the number of its founding members -- which was formed to push back against intolerance, and some of the essays were written by its members.

Chandra Muzaffar, one of the authors featured in the collection, said the ban showed the government's "authoritarian approach to Islam".

"It's a collection of essays which is intended to show that extremists and bigoted thinking on matters pertaining to the practice of Islam in the country should be combated in an intellectual manner," he told AFP.

Marina Mahathir, a rights activist and daughter of former long-serving premier Mahathir Mohamad, said the ban -- signed last week -- was aimed at silencing government critics.

"It is about silencing anybody who has a different view," she said.

Critics say the government clampdown on anything deemed un-Islamic has accelerated in recent times as Prime Minister Najib Razak's party seeks to appeal to its Muslim Malay base amid speculation elections could be called in the coming months.

In July the hit song "Despacito" was banned on state TV and radio due to its racy lyrics after pressure from an Islamic political party.

More than 60 percent of Malaysia's population of over 30 million are Muslim, but the country is also home to significant religious minorities.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.