The Court of Appeal recently dismissed the appeal filed by the Home Ministry that challenged the lifting of the banning of the book ‘Muslim Women and the Challenges of Extremism’. The book was published by SIS (Sister of Islam) in October 2005 where the Home Ministry has claimed that it was prejudicial to public order if they are to be allowed to circulate in public.
The Court of Appeal involved a three-man bench chaired by Court of Appeal judge Justice Abdul Wahab Patail and Justices Mah Weng Kwai and Clement Alan Skinner. It essentially upheld the decision made by the High Court on Jan 25, 2010 that quashed the ban on the book.
The ban was issued by the Home Minister then, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar where it was taken off the shelves but the High Court had then ruled against the ban. The Home Ministry then applied to the Court of Appeal to challenge the High Court’s decision.
According to the chair of the Court of Appeal, Justice Abdul Wahab it was an ‘outrageous defiance of logic’ when Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar claimed that the book was prejudicial to public order while not offering any clear evidence of these prejudicial events.
The decision include awarding RM20,000 in costs to SIS. Justice Abdul Wahab added that even if the book had breached the guidelines by the Islamic Development Department (JAKIM), it did not mean that it was prejudicial to public order and hence, it also cannot be deemed as such.
Therefore, the claim by the Home Ministry was clearly in the realm of irrationality when it was banned in 2008. The book is a publication of essays that were written based on research and studies carried out by some 18 women activists as well as some internationally known scholars.