Turkish author slams Malaysia again for book ban

Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol wants to know why Malaysia banned his book which had been on sale in the country since early 2016. – pic from mustafaakyol.org, October 14, 2017.

TURKISH author and journalist Mustafa Akyol has hit out at Malaysia for the second time in less than two weeks for banning his book Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.

“Let me remind Malay(sia) govt, with all due respect, what “book banning” means,” Mustafa wrote on Twitter today, accompanied with a link to his March 2016 column How Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance.

He had written in The New York Times column then the Malaysian government had not banned his book. 

“It would come 1.5 years later,” he said on Twitter.

Mustafa was arrested on September 25 as he prepared to board a flight at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and subsequently taken to the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department  headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for questioning.

The US-based journalist was invited to Kuala Lumpur by the Islamic Renaissance Front to to speak on the topic “The Islamic Jesus: The Commonalities Between Judaism, Christianity and Islam” at Nottingham University Malaysia but the talk was cancelled at the last minute.

A ban on his book and its Malay translation Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan was imposed on Sept 26. 

Mustafa had taken to Twitter earlier on October 6 to question the book ban. 

“I have two humble questions: 1) Are “norms of Malaysian society” incompatible with the idea that religion should not be coerced?

“2) Are “norms of Malaysian society” so fragile that they can be sustained only when the government bans critical ideas?” he wrote in response to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s claim Mustafa’s book was banned on the grounds it flouted norms of Malaysian society.

Ahmad Zahid said the ministry had received several complaints from readers about the book’s content and judge its content before banning it.

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