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Government bans Irshad's book

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BLASPHEMY: It contains insulting elements towards the prophet, says Home Ministry

KUALA LUMPUR: THE  Home Ministry has banned  the controversial book by liberal Muslim activist Irshad Manji as it could cause confusion among  Muslims.

In a statement yesterday, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Abu Seman Yusop said the book Allah, Liberty and Love and its translated version Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta was banned as it contradicted the Quran and Hadith.

He said the decision was made following a report by the Islamic Religious Development Department (Jakim).

"Based on the report, it says that the book promotes mixed marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims. This could lead to pluralism.

"It also contains insulting elements towards the prophet, which were described in such a way that could pollute the sanctity of Islam."

The deputy minister also said that the book defended secularism by confusing the Islamic faith.

"The book also says the five fardhu prayers can be done in various movements and languages more than five times a day. This statement may confuse the public."

He said the ban was made according to Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 as its content could cause disturbance to the public.

In a related development, Jawi enforcement division senior principal assistant director Wan Jaafar Wan Ahmad said they would monitor book stores to prevent them from distributing the books.

"We will continue monitoring bookstores in the next few months and we have asked for cooperation from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department to monitor them in the state," said Wan Jaafar, after a check at a bookstore in Bangsar.

On Wednesday, seven books of the English version were seized following a tip-off and surveillance at a popular book store in a shopping complex. Jawi also confiscated the translated version of the books.

Last Sunday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had advised the ministry to conduct a probe into Irshad's book.

Irshad, a Ugandan-born Canadian Muslim author, had arrived here last week to launch her new book.

The writer, who was reported to have openly admitted to being a lesbian, had sparked anger among the Muslim community with her previous book, The Trouble with Islam Today. The government had banned the book in July 2009.

A Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department enforcement officer confiscating copies of Irhad Manji’s book at a book shop on Wednesday.


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