Muslim Book Ban in Malaysia Sparks Anger

By M. Grace, August 04, 2017 01:08 AM

Islam book(Pixabay)

Several activists and authors of the Muslim-majority Malaysia reacted negatively on Tuesday, August 1, after authorities banned a Muslim book.

The authorities have reportedly banned the book over the concerns of growing conservatism in the country. The book, entitled "Breaking The Silence: Voices of Moderation - Islam In A Constitutional Democracy," is a collection of essays whose publication was organized by prominent groups of Muslim Malaysians. They are pushing for a more tolerant form of Islam in the country.

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

It can be noted that anyone who breaches this ban can be jailed up to three years.

Malaysia is known to routinely ban movies, songs and books which may contain sensitive topics regarding sex and religion. But critics reportedly said that the government has been clamping down harder in these recent times.

"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," one of the authors named Chandra Muzaffar said about the ban, adding that the government has extended its authoritarian approach to the religion.

A right activist and daughter of former premier Mahathir Mohamad said that the move was to silence the critics of the government. She added: "It is about silencing anybody who has a different view."

Critics reportedly say that the authorities were clamping down anything that are not Islamic as Prime Minister Najib Razak's party seeks to appeal to the Muslim people in Malaysia. 

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