January 8, 2016
Here we go again–Banning Books in Malaysia
by Zan Azlee
The weak, stupid and insecure UMNO types
Malaysian Muslims are a weak, stupid and insecure bunch. We have established that for a very long time now because we constantly need supervision so that we don’t fall prey to manipulation.
We have all kinds of rules and laws telling us what we can and cannot do. We have all kinds of people, the so-called leaders and authorities, telling us what we can and cannot do.It looks like all the religious studies that have been compulsory for us Malaysian Muslims students who go to national school have not worked at all.
We still don’t know anything about the religion. So many books have been banned because it doesn’t conform to the Islam the so-called leaders and authorities want us to believe in.Hence the most recent banning of books imposed by the Home Ministry about two months ago have been a slew of religious ones that have somehow found their way into the country.
These are :
1. The Teachings of the Quran by HU Weitbrecht.
2. Bahaullah And the New Era and Introduction to the Bahai faith by JE Esslemont.
3. Detik-detik pembongkaran agama: mempopulerkan agama kebajikan menggagas pluralisme-pembebasan by Nur Khalik Ridhwan and Sirsaeba Alafsana.
4. Jalan yang lurus: kita harus meneroka jalan ini by Kassim Ahmad.
5. Tabut: penjelasan tentang segala sesuatu by Abdul Kahar Bin Ahmad Jalal.
The first two books in the list above were published so long ago, almost a century ago to be exact, that one can wonder how much of a threat it can be. Both are actually books about different religions (Christianity and Bahai) and written by Europeans. Sure, The Teachings of the Quran is about Islam but from a Christian’s perspective.
Having the books around actually gives us Muslims an opportunity to study other religions and equip ourselves with good comparative religious understanding. That would actually strengthen our own faith, wouldn’t it? Unless, of course, we don’t understand our own religion enough to be able to compare it.
In fact, all the books on the list, whether written by Europeans, Indonesians or even our fellow Malaysians, should provide us with knowledge. Even a book with negative information can provide us with valuable lessons for deeper understanding and reinforcement of what we believe in.
It all depends on the base that we already have within us. If we have a strong base, then we will have a strong sense of self and evaluation. If we have a weak base, then we are weak.And to actually strengthen that base, instead of banning all that is against what we believe in, allow it, then provide counter-argument and rebuttals so that we see the point.
Then we would build minds that are open, understanding, critical, analytical and open to discourse. We can only learn when we are exposed to many different things. So the world is large and wide. We shouldn’t muzzle knowledge.
And that brings me to something else the Prophet said; “Whoever conceals knowledge would be muzzled on the Day of Resurrection with a muzzle of fire.”