Malaysian court overturns ban on Islam book
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Last Updated: Monday, January 25, 2010, 19:52
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 said.

"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 their faith.

"It's an excellent judgement. It marks a new day for Malaysia in terms of academic freedom, freedom of speech," she told reporters.

"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 ruling.


First Published: Monday, January 25, 2010, 19:52

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