Judge upholds Zahid’s ban on three Islamic Renaissance Front Berhad books

The High Court today dismissed the Islamic Renaissance Front Berhad’s (IRF) bid to lift former Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s ban on three of its books. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
The High Court today dismissed the Islamic Renaissance Front Berhad’s (IRF) bid to lift former Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s ban on three of its books. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — The High Court today dismissed the Islamic Renaissance Front Berhad’s (IRF) bid to lift former Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s ban on three of its books.

Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan said Ahmad Zahid had acted in accordance to subsection 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA) , which the then home minister had cited as conferring him the powers to ban the books.

According to the judge, Ahmad Zahid had reportedly read the books, analysed its contents and was quoted as saying: “Its contents contain statements that clash with Islamic teachings, spreads misguided teachings, disrupts the religious creed, and could confuse Muslims.”

One of the books banned is Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty by Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol and its Malay version Islam Tanpa Keeskstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan, published in 2016.

The others are Wacana Pemikiran Reformis Jilid 1 and Wacana Pemikiran Reformis Jilid 2, written by IRF founder Datuk Ahmad Farouk Musa and published in 2012 and October 2014 respectively.

Ahmad Zahid had banned the three IRF books in 2017.

The judge also noted that the former home minister had sought advice from religious the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) before banning the books.

“The minister had also referred to Jakim for its views and had considered Jakim’s opinion before making the decision,” Nordin said.

Wheelchair-bound IRF founder, Datuk Ahmad Farouk, appeared calm when the judge delivered the verdict, and left soon after.

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