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   Liberal activist Irshad Manji accused of insulting Islam

KUALA LUMPUR: Liberal activist Irshad Manji has found herself in a spot following strong protests against her presence here to promote the Malay version of her controversial book, Allah, Liberty and Love.

Political parties and non-governmental organisations have opposed her visit to Malaysia, claiming that the writer reported to have openly admitted to being a lesbian has insulted Islam with her writings and attitude.

They have demanded that the authorities ban her work and not allow her to set foot in the country again.

Her views on Islam such as her opinion that a non-Muslim need not convert to be married to a Muslim have gained the Ugandan-born Canadian author infamy.

The Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha will review her book, Allah. Kebebasan dan Cinta, saying that although there were complaints that Irshad's work was insulting to Islam, the department needed to go through the book first.

“We will be getting copies of the book soon. Once we have gone through and discover reasons that it should be banned, we will propose it to the Home Ministry,” he said.

Despite protests, the Malay version of Irshad's book was launched before a small group at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall yesterday.

Apart from the book launch, the 44-year-old activist's visit to Malaysia also included several speaking engagements but her programmes have been cancelled.

Irshad had earlier tweeted that the Borders bookstore had scrapped her event, citing security concerns while Monash University claimed it was pressured by the Selangor Islamic Affairs department. Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta is published by ZI Publications.

The writer's first book, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith has been banned in Malaysia.

PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Hassan has urged the Government to act fast, adding that while the movement supported freedom of expression, creative or literary works should not be used to promote ideas that were against religion and human nature.

“We cannot support something that goes against normal human values, let alone religious teachings,” he said.

Umno Youth exco member Hishamudin Yahya said the movement also called on the book to be banned, adding that Irshad should not be allowed to come to Malaysia again.

Irshad, who left for New York last night, said in her tweet after the event: “Fantastic event in KL! Great energy except for cops who told latecomers that event is banned. Didn't stop us. Congrats to all”.

thestar.com.my

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