Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Capitulating to Ignorance

For me, it's very ironic that the book itself is a victim of extremism. Does that mean women cannot even discuss extremism? ... What do they want us to do? Lie down and shut up?*
I went along to the forum organised by Sisters in Islam yesterday, following the banning of Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism.

Among the points made in a press statement written by Maria Chin Abdullah :
The book is an outcome of several discussions and meeting among Muslim women's groups fro southeast Asia and the middle east. The writers are .... well known women activists and academicians who have persistently championed the rights of Muslim women for more than a decade. The work of these women needs to be recognised, shared and made accessible to all.

The issues raised in the banned book evolved around the lived experiences of Muslim women around the world, the impact of Fundamentalist Muslim movements on women's rights, the role of the state in managing the process of Islamisation, and the alternate strategies used by various women's movements in their attempts to build bridges when confronting global politics, (and the) growth of religious fundamentalism in modern day society. This book explores and discusses how women's groups, not only for Muslims but people from other faiths, can come together to identify the different areas of their lives, where networking, cooperation, and solidarity can be strengthened and built upon as contemporary women stake their claims for rights, justice and equality - principles that are pivotal in the Quran.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) are asking the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) that they provide adeqaute and detailed explanations of their action which should indicate specific parts of the book that give offence, and explain why and how the book has violated the Printing Presses act. 1984 Section 7.

If they can't do this then they should, they should immediately revoke the ban on the book.

SIS also asks that there be a review of all banned books conducted, and that clear guidelines on the production, distribution and use of publications be issued.

Professor Noraini Othman, the editor of the book, talked about how the book came to be compiled and its importance, and called the banning :
... simply pandering to prejudice and capitulating to ignorance ...
Wong Chin Huat from the Writers allaince for Media independence called the banning without any reason or review the height of cowardice - and said that they Malaysian public needed to be treated like political adults, the very meaning of Independence (as Malaysia comes up to its 51st Merdeka celebration) being hollow if no independence of mind was permitted.

(More about the forum this morning in the Star. I will add more links as I find them.)

*The quote at the top by SIS's Norhayati Kaprawi on Yahoo News.

(Pics - kindly taken by Alan Wong as I forgot my camera. The book was a mock up for display purposes.)


savante said...

Anyone surprised? These are folks who have... 'postponed' Avril Lavigne's concert for reasons unknown.

bibliobibuli said...

yes, it's part of the same phenomena - "we know better than you do and we will decide what you are allowed to read/ watch / think"

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this kind of thing happened....*sigh*

Anonymous said...

I completely understand why it happened. It's a way for this insecure male dominated government to bully some intelligent Muslim women that they can't answer in a considered and rationale manner.

Anonymous said...

People voted for PAS. Even for a male dominated government, the most power person in it (the governor of Bank Negara) is female.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, please respond - with a name. Can you explain how the Governor of Bank Negara is the "most power person" in today's government. I take it that you will have done some research into how the governor is appointed and removed, as well as her roles and power before you respond.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I should never write when I'm tired. I meant most "powerful" person. Anyway think about it, she controls the economy. If she makes the wrong move, everyone in the country (including the PM) will be effectively bankrupt (even if they have a lot of money.) that's what I mean. Someone may have power over her, but she has power over everyone.

If she makes a wrong move, you might have to sell chicken rice for a living (and I may not even be able to afford it.) If that's not power over everyone then I don't know what is.