Wednesday, 6 June 2007

More books banned in Malaysia, reports The New Straits Times. Sharon at Bibliobibuli picked it up first, as usual.

They include Geraldine Brooks' Nine Parts of Desire. Brooks lived in the Middle East for many years before she wrote the book. National censor Che Din Yusoh says it, and the other 36 titles banned, were subject to the prohibition order "because their contents and text on Islam twisted facts and true Islamic teachings or contained elements that misled the faithful and humiliated the prophets".

"These publications can cause confusion and apprehension among Muslims and eventually jeopardise public order," he added.

This kind of meaningless and sensationalist speech is designed to mislead. As is that of Silma Ihram, a representative of the Australian Council of Islamic Education in Schools, who got an opinion piece published in today's The Sydney Morning Herald.

He attacks Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch woman now resident in the U.S., who spoke at the Sydney Writers' Festival recently. "Calling for the abolition of Muslim schools and insulting the prophet of one of the world's great religions contributes little in the way of positive solutions to very real problems existing throughout the Muslim world."

He says she "has an axe to grind" which "is understandable" due to the physical harm and social restrictions placed on her by her parents and guardians as a young girl. But her words, he says, are "not productive".

This kind of managerial double-speak may make sense to some readers, but in conjunction with the Malay ban, it simply says to me that he would do the same as them if given the chance. Anything to protect the prophet and "one of the world's great religions".

How can a religion be great if its supporters must resort to egregious prohibitions in an effort to buttress it against the creeping modernisation the mullahs fear?

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