Bookstore raid by religious authorities in Malaysia ruled illegal


Malaysian Muslim religious authorities acted illegally when they raided a bookstore in May 2012 to confiscate copies of a book they deemed against Islamic law, the country's highest court ruled on Tuesday.

The Federal Court also dismissed a bid to reverse a lower court ruling that the religious group – the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) – acted illegally in prosecuting the bookstore manager for selling the banned material.

The three justices who heard the case said that when JAWI conducted the raid on 23 May 2012, there was no declaration from the Home Ministry that Irshad Manji's book "Allah, Liberty and Love" was banned and against Islamic laws. They agreed with the decision of the lower court that JAWI acted beyond its powers when it conducted the raid and arrested the bookstore manager.

The Home Ministry said the book has elements that insult Islam and can confuse the public. It also said that the author openly supports LGBT rights in violation of Islamic tenets. The Home Ministry banned the book on 29 May, one week after the raid.    (dpa)

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