SHAH ALAM (Aug 29, 2012): Book publisher and activist Faisal Mustaffa will be charged in the syariah court over Irshad Manji’s banned book, Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta (Allah, Liberty and Love).

Faisal was told by the Selangor Religious Department (Jais) that he was under arrest and would be charged for failing to answer the questions of religious officers, after he had exercised his right to remain silent as provided for under the law.

“This is ridiculous. I was asked to come here for one case, and I have been charged for another case. I co-operated with their investigation,” Faisal told theSun today.

He said Jais officers intimidated him by raising their voices and threatening him for declining to answer their questions.

His lawyer Afiq Mohd Noor was also prevented from accompanying Faisal during the interview but was later allowed in after he protested that he has the right to legal representation. According to sources, Faisal’s name was found on the invoice when they raided the office of ZI Publications in May to seize the book.

His house was raided by Jais on June 12 and Aug 8. Jais also seized 28 of his books, including 13 copies of Irsyad Manji’s banned books.

“They came to my house around midnight to seize the books and asked me to give a statement at the headquarters,” he said.

Non-governmental organisation Lawyers for Liberty condemned Jais’ action, saying in a statement: “Lawyers for Liberty views with serious concern Jais’ harassment, abuse of power and complete disregard for the legal rights of an accused person which amounted to a serious assault on the freedom of speech and the legal safeguards as guaranteed by the constitution and the law.”

On May 29, Jais seized about 180 copies of Irshad Manji’s book from the Malaysian publisher.

30 August 2012 

Radzi Razak