Government Bans 18 Books on Islam and Religion

July 4, 2006

Source: International Freedom of Expression Exchange

On July 4, 2006 the International Freedom of Expression Exchange reported, "Malaysia's Ministry of Internal Security has banned 18 books on Islam and religion for their alleged potential to 'disrupt peace and harmony'. The ban was ordered in accordance with the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984, which prohibits the reproduction or distribution of materials that disrupt peace and harmony. The banned books - six of which are in Malay, with the rest in English - include works of noted Islam scholars Karen Armstrong and John Esposito. The Kuala Lumpur-based women's rights group Sisters-in-Islam is protesting the ministry's decision. 'We are particularly concerned over the increasing number of books on Islam and religion that are being banned,' the group said in an appeal to be sent to the ministry. 'The space for discourse is narrowing and Malaysian readers are being deprived of ideas and debates by renowned scholars and writers, published by reputable institutions such as the Oxford University Press.'"