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Jais seizes Manji’s book, publisher in court

 | May 29, 2012

Jais officers raided the publishing office this morning and seized 180 copies of Allah, “Liberty & Love” which were translated in Malay.

PETALING JAYA: The state religious authorities raided a publishing office and confiscated copies of a book penned by liberal Canadian Muslim author Irshad Manji.

The officers also arrested ZI Publications director Ezra Zaid, who is the son of Kita president and former law minister Zaid Ibrahim.

Ezra had confirmed that the officers seized 180 copies of Manji’s “Allah, Liberty & Love”, which was translated into Malay.

Some 20 officers from the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) were involved in this morning’s raid.

In a message on micro-blogging website Twitter, Erza said:”Selangor getting in on the act. Jais have just dropped by office. In a group of 20 (fashionable that way). Taking books, and maybe me too,” he said in his tweet.

Speaking to FMT later, Ezra said: “I can’t say much at this moment. Let’s follow rule of law, everything will take it’s due course. It is disappointing but we will take action as and when necessary. We will consider legal action as well. I’m on the way to Shah Alam right now.”

In another twitter message, he said: “Will be brought to Shah Alam; most likely to be charged. This is under Enakmen Tatacara Jenayah Syariah (Sgor) 2003 subseksyen 47 (1)… specifically, its Kesalahan Penerbitan Agama yg bertentangan dgn Hukum Syara’ — Seksyen 16 1(a) or (b).”

Ezra (photo, below) was later brought to the Shah Alam Syariah court and was freed after posting bail of RM1,800.

The case would be mentioned at the Petaling Jaya Syariah Court on a later date.

Public alarm

Earlier this month, the Federal Territory Religious Department (Jawi) raided bookshops in the city to confiscate Manji’s book, which has been banned under the syariah law.

The book is deemed to have violated Section 13 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territory) 1997. The section prohibits publishing, broadcasting, recording, distributing, spreading and keeping any publications contrary to Islamic law.

Later, on May 24, Home Ministry reportedly banned the book, including its Malay translation “Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta.”

Deputy Minister Abu Seman Yusop was quoted as saying that the ban was taken as the content of the book could “create public alarm and be prejudicial to public security and order”, under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

The ministry had acted based on a report by Islamic Development Department (Jakim). Jakim had studied the book and found that it contained “elements which could confuse the public and against the syariah as stated in the Quran and Hadith”.

Manji’s book became controversial after some quarters claimed it was anti-Islam, leading to the cancellations of her talks at two universities and a bookstore. ZI Publications had also recalled the book from stores , pending submission of an appeal for judicial review of the Home Ministry’s decision.

Born in Uganda, raised in Canada and now based in New York, Manji is the director of the Moral Courage Project at the Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She is openly lesbian.

In 2009, Malaysia had banned another of her book, ‘The Trouble With Islam Today’.


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