Target: Prime Minister Najib Razak
Goal: Protect freedom of speech by lifting Malaysia’s ban on a comic book that contains the word “Allah”
An Ultraman comic book in Malaysia has been banned because it uses the word “Allah” to describe the Japanese action hero. Banning one comic book purely on religious grounds is a grave violation to freedom of speech and media. Sign this petition to demand that that this ban be removed.
The Home Ministry said in a statement that the Malaysian version of “Ultraman, The Ultra Power” had elements that would undermine public security and societal morals. The Home Ministry also stated that since so many children idolize the comic book character, the children would equate the comic book character Ultraman King with Allah, and it would “confuse Muslim children and damage their faith.” (Ultraman is a Japanese action hero who fights monsters and first appeared on television in the 1960’s.)
The government wants the word Allah to be used exclusively for Muslims, and is concerned that it would confuse other Muslims and tempt them to convert. Sixty percent of the 30 million Malaysian citizens are Muslim, while 9 percent make up the Christian population. Allah is the Arabic word for God, and is commonly used in the Malay language to refer to God. The ministry also warned that such an irresponsible use of the word could provoke violence in various communities, and if anyone is caught with an edition of “Ultraman, The Ultra Power” they would be sentenced to jail for three years.
Such a steep punishment for owning a comic book is ludicrous and strange. Furthermore, banning this issue of a comic book is a grave violation of freedom of speech and of the media. The Malaysian government should learn to respect the rights of their citizens. Sign this petition and urge the prime minister to lift this ridiculous ban.
Dear Prime Minister Najib Razak,
I am writing this letter to urge your government to lift the ban on the Ultraman comic, “Ultraman, The Ultra Power.” Banning this edition of the comic is a grave violation of freedom of speech and of the media, and the punishment for owning such a comic is steep and ridiculous. Three years in prison is a sentence that should be reserved for crimes like theft and burglary, not reading a children’s comic.
There are different faiths on our planet, and we all have to learn how to coexist peacefully. I understand your concerns for the community, but suppressing freedom of speech and the media will not aid your nation. If explained, I’m sure Malaysian children will understand the mix up in the language. Again, I urge you to remove this ban.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jack Zalium via flickr