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Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Karen Armstrong has reentered the religious debate by publishing a new book about the Muslim prophet, Muhammad. As covered by Laurie Goodstein in The New York Times, the book, Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time, promises to be widely read and thoroughly discussed by Westerners, if not by Muslims. Sharon Bakar blogged in May last year about the banning of one of Armstrong's books (A History of God) in Malaysia because it would be “detrimental to public order”.

Then, this year, another book, Bakar reported, was banned. The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam has been prevented from being sold in the South-East Asian country because it was "deemed to be able to disrupt peace and harmony".

Among other things:

“Muhammad was not a pacifist,” Ms. Armstrong writes. “He believed that warfare was sometimes inevitable and even necessary.”

This is why some passages in the Koran are rules for warfare. Terrorist groups cite these selectively — or contort or violate them. The Koran says not to take aim at civilians; some terrorist groups declare all Israelis to be combatants because Israelis are required to perform military service.

It'll be interesting to see how the Internal Security Ministry treats this new book under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which was used to prevent the sale of the other two titles.

1 comment:

bibliobibuli said...

thanks, dean. yes, i must blog the nyt article too ...