May 242012
Security guards and journalists protect Canadian author

Malaysia’s Islamic authorities have seized copies of the book by Canadian author Irshad Manji as its content was deemed contrary to Islamic teachings, a senior official said on Thursday.

Wan Jaafar Wan Ahmad, chief senior assistant director of the Religious Islamic Department, said enforcement officers raided a bookshop late on Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur and confiscated several copies of “Allah Liberty & Love — Courage To Reconcile Faith & Freedom.” The book discusses how Muslims can reconcile faith and freedom amid what the author described as a world full of repressive dogmas.

But according to Jamil Khir Baharom, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, the book promotes a deviant ideology that is offensive to the Muslims, including acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual lifestyles.

Ugandan-born Irshad, a liberal Muslim activist, visited Kuala Lumpur last week where she launched the book in the country. She was criticized for openly supporting gay rights.

Wan Jaafar said bookshops found selling the book would be investigated for violating a federal law that forbids publishing copies of a book that is contrary to Islamic teachings and violates the sanctity of Islam.

Manji stirred controversy in Indonesia earlier this month when members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) stormed her book launch event in Jakarta, threatening violence if it didn’t cease immediately. Manji had to be escorted out under a heavy guard as the police shut down the event.