Firstly, I want to point out that I do not support the Malaysian government’s decision to ban the Malay translation of Irshad Manji’s latest book, considering I believe in near-absolute freedom of speech; and, while Manji is a sell-out and useful tool who routinely belittles and degrades Muslims for profit, she should have the right to speak her mind without censorship.
The drone-like commenters at JihadWatch have expressed nothing short of glee at the latest news that the Malaysian translation of Irshad “Muslims helped make the Holocaust happen” Manji’s most recent book, Allah, Liberty & Love was banned in Malaysia for containing words that “insulted Islam.” This supposedly “proves” how backward all 1.5 billion Mooslims are! After some political parties and organizations complained about Manji’s appearance in the country, the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) decided to review the book to find out if there was any “offensive” content. They declared that some of the material “insulted Islam”, and was subsequently banned by the Home Ministry. The Malaysian Insider quotes the Ministry,
“This is because the book which is believed to have elements that can deviate Muslims from their faith, Islamic teachings and elements which insulted Islam and has received numerous complaints,” he said in a statement here.”
“The ministry had received a report from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and based on its findings, the contents had elements that can confuse the public and contained words that insults Islam.”
The IDD felt the need to point out that they can only advise the Ministry with their interpretation of Islamic values, but cannot enact laws themselves. This doesn’t take away the fact that censorship was at play here, but it provides a nuance that Islamophobes typically ignore; most Muslims don’t believe in a theocracy. This piece to the puzzle was unsurprisingly missing from Jihad Watch’s “report.”
“Wait a minute. Isn’t Islam supposed to be completely compatible with moderation, democracy, and so on? Apparently the allegedly mild, modern and moderate Muslims of Malaysia didn’t get the memo. Or the fact that crowds of Malaysian Muslims haven’t openly called for her death (yet) should be considered ‘moderation’.”
Yet he conveniently leaves out the fact that the publisher of the translation, ZI Publications, is taking “legal action” against the government while using their own interpretation of the Malaysian Constitution and Islam to do so. Apparently they feel that “free inquiry” is “something which Islam itself cherishes.” But what do they know about their own religion?! They’re doing something that makes Islam look good, so naturally they must be practicing “taqiyya”, or simply don’t understand how evil their religion so obviously is.
“The English version of Irshad Manji’s book, Allah, Liberty & Love, has been published since June 2011 and there has been no issue taken with the book… until we published a Malay translation of the book (Allah, Kebebasan & Cinta),” said Ezra Zaid, director and owner of ZI.” (Emphasis added)
“Either way, we published this book in the spirit of free inquiry – incidentally, something which Islam itself cherishes – and acting strictly in accordance with our right to free speech and expression as guaranteed by Article 10 (1)(a) of the Federal Constitution,…” (Emphasis added)
But we all know the Islamophobic modus operandi. When Muslims ban or censor a book, they’re showing their true colors, and this proves that Islam is demonic; but when Muslims say Islam does not promote the banning of books, they’re practicing “taqiyya”, so they can’t be trusted. (Ironically, you will never hear Islamophobes condemn Geert Wilders for wanting to ban the Qur’an, or any concern on their behalf when a number of books have been banned in the USA). This is why there is overwhelming silence over at Jihad Watch about this element to the story. “What?! Muslims standing up for free-speech while still practicing their religion?! This is impossible! The only Muslims who can stand up for freedom and democracy are those who oppose their own religion and sell out their co-religionists in the name of profit!”
This is why the more stealthy Islamophobes of the world love people like Irshad Manji. She says everything that they want to say, but can’t without (rightly) being called a bigot. But since she is a self- professed Muslim, all they need to do is quote her words and say, “this comes from a Muslim! One of your own people says this about you, so I can’t be a bigot just by quoting her words!”
This is one of the oldest tactics in the book. This same line was said by the more “diplomatic” American anti-Catholics of the 19th century and the anti-Semites of the 20th century; and now it is said by the Islamophobes. And since this dance takes two to tango, each era saw its share of self-declared turncoats, appeasers and traitors of their identities. But just like most of America’s famous anti-Catholics and anti-Semites have been forgotten by the public, so are its team players who played the role of the “native informant.”
Does anybody remember Benjamin Freedman? He was a self-declared ex-Jew turned anti-Semite conspiracy theorist who claimed to have been one of the most influential proponents of “Zionism” in the United States. He did not limit himself to critiques of Zionism but rather engaged in classic “Jews run the world hate-mongering,” i.e. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion shtick.
He was very popular among the anti-communist “Patriot” groups in the 1940s- 50’s because many of these people were also anti-Semitic. So to have a guy who claimed to be an ethnic Jew saying all of these bad things about his “own people” was a great thing for them since it gave their views a certain type of credibility that they normally wouldn’t have had as non-Jews. Yet today, Mr. Freedman is hardly remembered except among right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis who post some of his speeches on YouTube.
It is likely that the same fate as Freedman’s diminished remembrance awaits Irshad Manji, Walid Shoebat, Brigitte Gabriel, Nonie Darwish, Kamal Saleem, Ibn Warraq, and a whole list of other Muslim “native informants,” “fake ex-Muslims” and “fake ex-terrorists.”