According to the DAP website the Internal Security Ministry has banned 11 titles dealing with religious topics as being “detrimental to public order”. (Whatever that means!) The DAP of course wants to know why. As should we all.
These were books that were previously available here and one of them Great Religions of the World has been in circulation for more than 30 years and is published by National Geographic. (How subversive can you get?)
Another, A History of God by Karen Armstrong is a study of monotheism over 4,000 years and has been widely used by students of religious studies here. (Armstrong in fact has been honoured by the Islamic Center of Southern California as a bridge builder who promotes understanding among the three faiths.)
The other titles were Mercy Oceans’ Lovestream by Sheikh Nazim Al-Qubrusi, The Cross and the Crescent by Phil Parshall (I bought a copy of it more years ago than I care to remember, at a bookstall in Subang airport!), Messiah War in the Middle East and Road to Armageddon by Grant R. Jeffrey, The Sterling Dictionary of Religion by Amrita Sharma, The Word of Islam by John Alden Williams, Mysterious Facts: Strange World by Richard O’Neill, Mysterious Facts: Gods and Demons by Amanda O’Neill, Women and Islam by Fatima Mernissi, and Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong.
A society that bans books is surely a society in trouble.
Convergent ideas always will present a challenge to conventional thinking. But isn't that challenge best met by equipping ourselves intellectually? Isn't this what a knowledge-based society is about - inculcating the ability to think issues through clearly and logically, and to debate rationally? Or is this all just so much lip-service?