Sunday, July 15, 2007

Copies of Qur'an Banned in Malaysia!

Don't know how I managed to miss the news about yet another batch of books being banned here, including translations of the Qu'ran the other day, but was most surprised when I read about it at the Complete Review! (A bit miffed am I that an overseas literary website got to this story first, but I am glad that it made international news even if only the Malay Mail found this story newsworthy locally!)

(An up-to-date list of banned books for 2007 is now up on the KDN's website.)

From Bernama:
The ministry's Publication and Quranic Text Control Division secretary Che Din Yusoh said some of the books were found to contain facts that deviated from the Islamic teaching to the extent of possibly endangering the moral of readers and causing public disorder.

He said the rest were banned because they contained explicit sexual descriptions and were not suitable for public reading.

"If the publications are allowed it can give rise to confusion and anxiety among the Muslims and hence can endanger public moral* and order," he said in a statement Thursday.
The banned books include a number of locally written small-press publications dealing with subjects like the "secrets" of women, how to perform better in the bedroom, and men's sexual problems. Sex manuals in other words.
  • Al-Kafilah Siapakah Yang Dikatakan Gadis by Mohamd Abdul Hamid
  • Rahsia Di Kamar & Kunci Wanita and Rahsia Nombor 1 Untuk Wanita II by Tok Nujum. (Both published by Usnie Publisher from Setapak)
  • Rahsia Kenikmatan Rumahtangga published by Tabib Haji Anwar (Khan Enterprise)
  • Masalah Seksual Lelaki & Rawatan Alternatif published by Teguh Ringgit Publishing House
  • Pendidikan Seks Rumahtangga Kemuncak Rahsia Kebahgiaan, Kasih Sayang Sejati Rahsia Menguatkan Tenaga Batin, Teknik Bercumbu dan Berjimak by Jaafar Salleh and published by Al-Hidayah Publisher
But as we've come to expect, most of the books deal with religious issues. I do hope that you will follow the links I've put in and ask yourselves why should each of these titles be banned what is there about them that could cause "confusion and anxiety"? Your thoughts on any of the titles would be very much welcomed.
Complete Review says:
Paternalistic government, ain't it great ? There's always someone looking out for the poor citizens who might get confused and anxious otherwise! Almost makes you wish for a Publications and Quranic Text Control Division in every country ! We don't know how we manage without one.
* "endanger public moral" ... perhaps that should be "endanger the public's English"!


Anonymous said...

Robert Spencer is a well-known Christian hatemonger and Islamophobe and Arthur Jeffrey was a Christian orientalist/missionary. Their works deserve to be banned.


bibliobibuli said...

thanks menj ... can appreciate why the works of these guys might be considered to be unsavoury here ... but banning? isn't that extreme? did the books actually present a danger here?

do you have any idea why the oxford qur'an might be banned - to me that seems a particularly inexplicable banning?

Poppadumdum said...

"Arthur Jeffrey was a Christian orientalist/missionary" - GREAT reason to ban a book. I totally agree!

Anonymous said...

Sharon, who are these people suddenly popping up on your site and supporting banning.
If I took that stand, I would ask for government propaganda to be banned. But no, I say go ahead with govt propaganda and let people make their own decisions.
If Mohamad (PBUH) appeared today (instead of 1400 years ago), he would have been locked up under ISA and the Quran would be banned.

bibliobibuli said...

anaon - *sigh* let them say (nigerian proverb). me am anti all book banning - even though there are books that would make me very angry ... you have to have a principle and stand by it. that's mine.

Nuri said...

Honestly, I don't think that book banning is that bad a thing. I don't support it and I'm not against it. I'm fairly sure that the Government's current censure and banning board isn't 'right' some of the time, though. (how the heck does so much Yaoi get onto shelves otherwise?)

As a Muslim, I do believe that certain religious books that contain negative Islamic images (ones that may confuse tentative followers or non-Muslims) should be banned or contain a warning.

bibliobibuli said...

nuri - isn't that just letting others do your thinking for you?

perhaps that suits you ... perhaps that suits most people here (otherwise there would have been more coverage in the press and a few other voices speaking out!)

this isn't of course how i feel about the issue. i'd like to see people developing critical thinking skills and using their own intelligence

much more i might argue back ... maybe later as i have to go out

Nuri said...

I've sort of adjusted myself to the fact that most Governments will, in spite of public objection, censure material that would encourage free- (or radical-) thinking. =P

If they ban a book, it's not going to stop me from thinking for myself. I'd prefer it if the lack of a certain book in my life didn't define the extent of my thoughts.

However, I do admit that the banning of books does limit one's resources. An excess of book banning *would* endanger critical thinking, though that doesn't seem likely to me; especially when authors nowadays are hiding 'dangerous' themes in unsuspecting genres (fantasy, sci-fi).

bibliobibuli said...

glad to know it won't stop you thinking, nuri.

the danger is not with these titles not being available but with the slow and steady creep of book banning. 50 titles already this year and we're only halfway through ...

it's also, i think, necessary to oppose banning as a principle. it shouldn't be the state's job to think for its citizens. worse still is the fact here that there is no debate, no appeal on banned titles.

Nuri said...

There isn't a way to make an official appeal? I hadn't realized. It's a Governing issue when the public does not have the right to oppose decisions that the Government is making (this *is* a democracy, sort of).

I'll leave the anti-book banning efforts to people who're more dedicated to it, though. If this 'injustice' continues, I suppose an older me would probably take a stand too.

animah said...

Nuri, why wait till you're older? Malaysians may have no rights by then. If you see an injustice, do something now.

Nuri said...

What could I really do? I wouldn't mind adding my name to a petition or writing a really mean letter to the newspapers but my real efforts lay elsewhere at the present, with personal tasks and such.

Right now, I am studying to make a change in the future, when I am more well equipped to challenge Governmental issues.

It's a matter of personal preference, I suppose.

bibliobibuli said...

i just wanted to raise awareness with this post, nuri. am mostly concerned because there's so little public interest or debate about it ... yet to me it seems a v. serious issue.

if it makes people think and talk and ask questions, that's good.

Terry Tiessen said...

I was unaware that my book had been banned but I suspect it may be because I deny that Muhammad was a prophet of God, although I agree with J. H. Bavinck, that he Muhammad may have received special divine revelation.

Terry Tiessen

bibliobibuli said...

thanks very much for dropping by, terry. i guess that would explain the ban here!