Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ban Lifted on Sisters in Islam Book

I am extremely happy to hear of Sisters-in-Islam's victory in the High Court yesterday. The Home Minister’s order banning the book Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism was overturned by Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof who ruled that the book did not disturb public order, as the ministry had claimed.

He said :
Some may not agree with what is stated in the book but this is to be expected in an academic text, which this book is. But to conclude that it can create public disorder is something that cannot stand to objective scrutiny. ... I therefore find an error of law evident in the decision of the minister on the combined terms of illegality and irrationality. It can be said that the reaction (to ban the book) is wholly disproportionate to the concerns expressed.
He also awarded SIS costs.

Norani Othman of SIS said to reporters after wards that it was “a good day” for academic freedom and freedom of speech, and that :
The book has not caused public disorder. It is a serious book that discusses and analyses certain aspects of the implementation of Islamic family law and syariah criminal law... in so far as it affects the rights of Muslim women. ... We are not questioning the syariah law, akidah or rejecting Islam.
It's been a two year fight to get the book unbanned, and it is a very important victory which offers hope to others whose works have suffered in a similarly arbitrary way.

And really this is yet another instance of the Malaysian government having been made to look stupid and narrow-minded in the international arena, with the story being picked up around the world. Please don't shame us further!

1 comment:

gnute said...

This is wonderful news.