September 5, 2013
Home Affairs Ministry’s Ban on Irshad Manji’s Book removed
by Hafiz Yatim@ www.malaysiakini.com
The Home Ministry’s ban on the book by controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji titled ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’ has been removed.
This follows Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Justice Zaleha Yusof’s decision to allow ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s application for judicial review today.ZI Publications, the publisher of the Malay translation of the book, had sought to quash the Home Ministry’s ban against the book as sales of the English version had been in the market over a year prior to the translated version.
ZI Publications and Home Ministry
by Hafiz Yatim @http://www.malaysiakini.com
The Home Ministry’s ban on the Bahasa Malaysia version of controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji’s book ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’ has been lifted.
This follows Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Zaleha Yusof’s decision today to allow ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s application for judicial review on the Bahasa Malaysia version.
Irshad Manji’s (right) book was banned by the Home Ministry on May 29, 2012 and the ban on the English version remains.
ZI Publications, the publisher of the Malay translation of the book, had sought to quash the Home Ministry’s ban against the book as sales of the English version had been in the market over a year prior to its translated version ‘Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta’.
Justice Zaleha in her broad grounds reasoned that the English text has been on sale in the Malaysian market for a year and had not cause any disruption to public order. She asked if it is true the book was prejudicial to public order, then why was no action taken to ban the English version when it was first circulated.
“Why was the prohibition made only when it was translated to the national language?As I understand it, the root of the respondents’ concern is it would result in religious confusion as the authority decided to ban the book only when it was translated into Bahasa Malaysia.Does this mean that only the Malay speaking readers will be confused while English readers would not?”
Lawyer Nizam Bashir who appeared with K Shanmuga for ZI Publications, said this fortified their argument that the sale of the Malay translated version would not result in untoward events.
Nizam indicated that the judge is expected to write the full grounds later.
In their judicial review application, ZI Publications helmed by Ezra Zaid (right), had named the Deputy Home Minister, Home Minister and the government as respondents.
The company claimed they were not allowed any opportunity to voice their views before the Deputy Home Minister’s ban on the printing, importing, producing and selling of the book last year.
They further claimed that the book only contained opinions in the form of brief summaries criticising current approaches in the administration of the religion, which were not harmful.
The ban, they alleged, was null and void as it was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(a) and 8(1) of the federal constitution, related to freedom of speech and expression. They are seeking to have the order declared nullified, with costs.
Besides this case, ZI Publications had also filed another judicial review application to challenge the power of the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department to prosecute them in the Syariah court citing it limited the company’s freedom of expression.
It was also reported that the Home Ministry and Federal Territory Islamic Department (JAWI) had been ordered by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to drop the syariah charge against Borders Gardens store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz for distributing the book.
Justice Zaleha Yusof had ruled that JAWI’s raid on March 23, 2012 predated the ban order issued by Home Ministry and that the prosecution of Nik Raina amounted to retrospective enforcement.
Nik Raina’s withdrawal of the charge was supposed to be heard at the KL Syariah High Court on August 28, then postponed to September 3 and postponed again to September 13.
This resulted in the Lawyers for Borders issuing another letter dated September 3 to the court and JAWI, expressing the hope that there are no more postponements as any judge could hear the matter.