Canadian liberal Muslim activist Irshad Manji has denounced the Malaysian government’s decision to ban her newest book, Allah, Liberty and Love, saying that outlawing ideas is an insult to the country’s younger generation.
“There is nothing humble about banning ideas … to prohibit them from being expressed is a sure sign of insecurity,” she said in a statement available to The Jakarta Post on Friday, adding that the book was meant to empower its readers.
Manji’s previous book, The Trouble with Islam Today, has also been officially banned in Malaysia.
On May 17, Borders Books and Australia-based Monash University’s Malaysian campus canceled book discussions with Manji in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Similarly, Manji – who claims to be a Muslim reformist and criticizes the Koran, while at the same time using some of its verses to support her arguments – had to abruptly end or cancel her book discussions after drawing protests from hard-line groups during her stay in Jakarta and Yogyakarta in early May.
Commenting on the Malaysian government’s ban, Manji said that the Koran had asked that all Muslims be modest in their interpretations toward religion because only God knew the truth.
“Censorship treats citizens like children … banning the books will only draw more attention to the very ideas that threaten the government's fragile ideology,” she said, adding that Malaysians can still download the digital versions of her books on her website.
The Strait Times reported that the Malaysian minister in charge of Islamic affairs, Jamil Khir Baharom, said that the Malaysian government thought Manji’s books were offensive to Muslims as were her ideology and openly homosexual lifestyle, which was deemed to be against Islam.
Manji has denied that her latest book discusses homosexuality. (asa/mtq)