Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Protest against Malaysian book ban

The Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP), an international network of Muslim moderates with operating groups and correspondents in the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, France, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and other countries PROTESTS a decision by Federation of Malaysia authorities to ban The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism, authored by CIP Executive Director Stephen Schwartz.

The Two Faces of Islam was published by Doubleday, New York, 2002, and has been translated and published in Bosnian, Croatian, Albanian, and Bahasa Indonesia – the latter readable by Malaysians, under the title Dua Wajah Islam. Translations into other major languages read by Muslims are in preparation.

Executive Director Schwartz commented on the news, “It’s contemptible and, frankly, reveals the backward-looking attitudes of authorities in Malaysia , a country which prides itself on its alleged modernization as an economic tiger. In reality, books cannot be banned today. They are smuggled, pirated – especially in Southeast Asia – downloaded, and, in the case of my book, can easily be imported from Indonesia and read by Malaysians who do not know English. I consider this ban a badge of pride. I do, however, call on moderate Muslims and those who sympathize with moderate Islam, as well as all supporters of freedom of expression, to protest to the Malaysian authorities against this absurd decision.”

Schwartz suggested that Saudi-Wahhabi agents in Malaysia had become alarmed by the publication of the book in Bahasa Indonesia. In addition, fundamentalist advocates trained in Malaysia have recently stirred up trouble in the Balkans, using their past solidarity with embattled Bosnia-Hercegovina as a pretext for extremist agitation.

The Two Faces of Islam will continue to be published in Muslim countries and read by ordinary Muslims,” Schwartz said.

“The counter-jihad has hardly begun, and the arbitrary abuses committed by Malaysian and other radicals will do nothing more than call attention to our work. I do not believe this ridiculous decision reflects on the people of Malaysia or their Islam; rather, it reveals that a serious confrontation is underway in that country between moderates and extremists. The notable fact that my book, which is supported by numerous Muslim scholars, was banned in a ‘grab-bag’ list including Islamic and non-Islamic works, demonstrates the immoral use of the ‘technique of the amalgam,’ which was made famous by Communist regimes in suppressing their critics. It is unworthy of any Muslim to support such desperate intrigues as undertaken in Malaysia. No books on any religion should be banned in Malaysia . The involvement of the Ministry of Internal Security in this disreputable action is ludicrous; my book is in no way a threat to the internal security of Malaysia .”

Schwartz concluded his comments on the incident with the Quranic citation, “ ‘Say: “I seek refuge in the Lord of men, the King of men, the God of men, from the mischief of the slinking prompter who whispers in the hearts of men.”’” (Surah 114).

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The Center for Islamic Pluralism requests that protestors against this ban address communications to:

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
800 N. Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 790
Washington , D.C. 20002 USA

U.S. Embassy to Malaysia
Amb. James Keith
376 Jalan Tun Razak 50400
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Federation of Malaysia
Ministry of Internal Security
Blok D1 & D2, Parcel D,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan
62546 Putrajaya Malaysia

Embassy of Malaysia
3516 International Court NW
Washington, DC 20008-3002 USA

Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations
313 East 43rd Street
New York, NY
10017 USA

Malaysian High Commission in UK
45-46 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8QT UK

Malaysian High Commission in Singapore
301, Jervois Road
249 077 Singapore

Malaysian Embassy to Indonesia
Jalan H.R. Rasuna Said Kav, X/6,
No. 1-3 Kuningan 12950 Jakarta Selatan
Jakarta Indonesia

Note: To avoid spam filters, please write in the subject line of e-mails: PROTEST AGAINST MALAYSIAN BAN ON “TWO FACES OF ISLAM”

Copies of protest e-mails should be blind-copied to:

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