Malaysian Trial Opens over "Un-Islamic" Book

Woman faces two-year term over book considered offensive to Islam


It was a quiet Wednesday evening towards the end of May when Malaysia's religious authorities paid a surprise visit to the Borders bookshop in one of Kuala Lumpur's more upscale shopping malls.

The three officers from the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department, better known by its Malay language acronym JAWI, were courteous but brought with them 20 other men. They milled around the shop, browsing the shelves and taking pictures on their mobile phones. The officers asked the employees whether the shop was selling Allah, Liberty and Love, the newly released book by New York-based Canadian academic Irshad Manji.

Understandably, the staff, dealing with a raid by the religious authorities for the first time, was nervous. They lead the men to the shelf where the offending book was on display. After confiscating a couple of copies, the officials asked for the manager.