Malaysian Court Ends Ban On Book

January 25, 2010

Author: Liz Gooch

Source: The New York Times

Free speech advocates were rejoicing Monday after a Malaysian court quashed a government ban on a book about the challenges facing Muslim women.

In a country where human rights organizations say that government censorship pervades many parts of public life, the decision was hailed as a victory for freedom of expression.

“We were hoping, we were praying that this would mark a good day for all Malaysians,” said Professor Norani Othman, the editor of the banned book, “Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism,” a collection of essays by international scholars. “It’s a good day for academic freedom.”

In July 2008, the Ministry of Home Affairs banned the book, published in 2005 by Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian nongovernmental organization, on the grounds that it was “prejudicial to public order” and that it could confuse Muslims, particularly Muslim women.