Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian court on Monday
overturned a government ban on a book about Islam, in a
decision hailed as a landmark for freedom of speech.
The book, "Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic
Extremism," published by pressure group Sisters in Islam, was
banned in 2008 after complaints it could confuse the Muslim
community and cause public disorder.
High Court judge Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said that the
reaction to the seven disputed pages of the 215-page book was
"wholly disproportionate to the concerns expressed."
"The book itself was in circulation in Malaysia for two
years before the (home) minister decided to ban the book," he
"To conclude it creates a public order issue is something
that cannot stand objective scrutiny. To that extent, an error
of law is established on facts."
The book`s editor, Noraini Othman, applauded the
decision, saying she was "overjoyed" and that the book would
in no way threaten public order or lead Muslims to question
"It`s an excellent judgement. It marks a new day for
Malaysia in terms of academic freedom, freedom of speech," she
"It is a very serious academic book which deal with the
implementation of certain aspect of Islamic family law, the
implementation of certain provisions in the Sharia criminal
law and how it affects women."
The government`s lawyer declined to comment on the