Target: Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein
Goal: Reverse a book ban that disrespects the Malaysian people’s right to information and ideas.
Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has banned the book “Allah, Liberty and Love” by Irshad Manji claiming that it is “prejudicial to morality and public order.” The banning of this book and other books disrespects the Malaysian people’s right to receive and convey information and ideas. It also inhibits Malaysian society from freedom of thought and the ban violates the right to freedom of expression under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Over 180 copies of the Manji’s book were seized from the offices of ZI Publications and the publisher, Ezra Zaid, was arrested. The warrant granted by an Islamic (Shariah) court sent some 20 officers from Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) to carry out the task. Zaid was released on $570 bail but was not charged.
Hussein has complete control over book bans in the country. Due to the ban and the Printing Presses and Publication Law that gives Hussein “absolute discretion,” the people who possess the book are now guilty of committing a crime. The ban extends to possession of the book in both English and Malay, copies, extracts, paraphrasing of the book, translation, importation, production, reproduction, publishing, circulation, and distribution.
Manji’s book deals with reconciliation of faith and freedom. And in the eyes of Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Abu Seman Yusop it is quite a threat to the people. The biggest threat that Yusop sees from Manji’s book is that “it has elements that can deviate Muslims from their faith.”
Please urge Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister to reverse this book ban and draft legislation to prevent further book bans that would inhibit the rights of a democratic society by signing the petition below.
Dear Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein,
Please reverse the book bans that oppress the rights of Malaysian society to give and receive information and ideas. The ban on Irshad Manji’s book “Allah, Liberty, and Love” violates the right to freedom of expression, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 19.
Banning books is an ancient form of suppressing the people from receiving ideas and forming educated opinions. I urge you to lift the ban on Manji’s book and any other books that might conflict with your religious ideologies. Give the Malaysian people the right to think for themselves, seek information, and hold opinions without government interference.
[Your Name Here]