Hornbill Unleashed

May 20, 2012

‘Allah, Liberty & Love’ launched amidst obstacles

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Koh Jun Lin

About 70 people attended Ugandan-born Canadian author Irshad Manji’s book launch today, despite the event being finalised just last evening.
The launch at KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall took place amid pressure from various religious groups and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom’s announcement that she would not be allowed to conduct her roadshow.

Ezra Zaid, director of the book’s publisher ZI Publishing, said another two events had to be cancelled, but was glad that he was able to organise the book launch before Manji departs for New York tonight.

NONECommenting after the book launch on Jamil Khir’s statement, Ezra said, “I think that decision rests with the Home Ministry,” noting that the ministry has yet to issue a statement on whether to ban Manji’s latest book ‘Allah, Liberty, and Love’.

Jamil Khir was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying earlier Saturday that the book was offensive to Muslims as was Manji’s ideology and openly gay lifestyle, which was deemed to be against Islam.

Four black-clad security guards

The 2pm book launch of the Malay translation of the book at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall was held under the watchful eye of at least four black-clad security guards, although there were no disruptions at the event.

Manji kicked off the event by gaving a brief talk before taking questions from the audience and later autographed her book, copies of which were being sold at RM50 – RM10 below the market price.

In her speech, she spoke of “identity politics” that tries to slap labels on Muslims and turn them into homogenised groups, whose teachings could not be questioned.

“You just have to stick with one label, and then you become very dogmatic with that label… the moment you ask questions, that somehow threatens this identity, then they become very defensive and even more dogmatic,” she explained.

“The point is that so often, identity – a label – gets confused with integrity, and integrity is not just a label. Integrity is your wholeness, your fullness.

“When you strive to reconcile all of what you are and not just some of what you are; when you don’t take shortcuts, but you work to have to have integrity, then you can also deepen your relationship with the Almighty,” said Manji.

The ultimate guide

irshad manji book launch signing autographsAccording to her website, the seven-chapter book “shows all of us how to reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas… This book is the ultimate guide to becoming a gutsy global citizen”.

The book has not been officially banned by the Malaysian authorities.

Her previous internationally acclaimed book, ‘The Trouble with Islam Today’, was banned in Malaysia after eight years in the market, ZI Publications said.

“Fantastic event in KL! Great energy – except 4 cops who told latecomers that event is banned. Didn’t stop us. Congrats 2 all,” Manji wrote on Twitter.

Manji also faced problems while touring Indonesia before coming toMalaysia.

The republic’s police shut down several events after the Islamic Defenders Front group held violent protests condemning her liberal views on Islam and her homosexuality


  1. What are people really afraid of?

    The messenger or the truth?

    Would they accept this message ? There won’t even be any anger. Just a lot of smiles.



    Comment by singer or the song — May 20, 2012 @ 1:21 PM | Reply

  2. Every religion preaches good karma. It is a matter of interpretation by different individuals , sects or countries. Some governments translated it to satisfy their political needs while others practice less stringent rules. Personally, I feel that every female should be accorded same status with men and they should not be treated like ‘second class’ people in any society.After all, we are all humans beings. Fairness should be the norm.

    Comment by Egbert Lau — May 20, 2012 @ 9:28 AM | Reply

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