Thursday, August 21, 2008

Banning Noraini's book

I read that Dr. Norani Othman's edited volume "Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism" has been banned by the Home Ministry on the grounds that it 'twisted facts on Islam that can undermine the faith of Muslims'. This is a bunch of crock.

I know Norani professional and personally. I contributed a couple of articles in a recent book entitled 'Elections and Democracy in Malaysia' which called into question many aspects of the electoral system in Malaysia. Thankfully, that book wasn't banned.

Norani or 'Noi', as she is known among friends in Malaysia, is a respected and well published academic and I have tremendous respect for her as an academic. I am sure that her edited volume takes a critical look at the impact of Islam both on the part of the BN as well as on the part of PAS and other Islamic bodies / movements in the country but I am equally sure that only a small part of the Malaysian community would have made the effort to read this book, given its academic nature.

I am against the banning of books in general since I think that one should be intelligent enough to judge if a book is worth reading or not and if one wants to be exposed to the ideas expounded in a particular book. But I am especially against the banning of academic books which are supposed to adopt a critical eye on the issues of the day. How can our higher institutions of learning be taken seriously if freedom of thought and expression is restricted and the works of some scholars are banned by the authorities? Such a notion would be greeted with absolute contempt in the US, UK or any developed country that respects the freedom of thought and expression. I guess Malaysia lives by different rules.


Anonymous said...

is it published outside the country or on the net?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the concept of Islam Hadari undermine the faith of the Muslims in this country?

Islam Hadari only came up with someone becoming the PM in certain country

Kenu said...

err...where can I find this book?