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Allah, Liberty, and Love': Gay Muslim Activist Launches Book in Malaysia Despite Government Pressure


"Reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas"

Though one of her books is already banned in the country, a Canadian gay rights activist launched her new book on liberal Islam in Malaysia on Saturday, despite apparent government attempts to stop her.

The man in charge of Islamic affairs in the country, Jamil Khir Baharom, said that Islamic officials and the Home Ministry would not allow the author's "roadshow" in the country following complaints, since both the book and Manji's openly gay lifestyle are offensive to Muslims.

Urging Malaysian Muslims to be constantly on guard so as not to be influenced by her ideologies, he reiterated that all state religious departments had been instructed not to allow her to spread her worldview.

However, despite all that went wrong, the author seemingly pulled it off in good spirits.  After two venues canceled on her, Irshad Manji wrote on Twitter: "Fantastic event in [Kuala Lumpur]! Great energy -- except 4 cops who told latecomers that event is banned. Didn't stop us. Congrats 2 all."

According to her website, this is what the cover of the book looks like in Malaysia:

The book, titled "Allah, Liberty, and Love" in English, is explained on her website: "[It] shows all of us how to reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas... This book is the ultimate guide to becoming a gutsy global citizen".

But Manji wasn't only having problems in Malaysia.  According to AFP, the author also faced problems while touring Indonesia before she arrived.  The Islamic Defenders Front group held such violent protests condemning her views on Islam and her homosexuality that the police ended up shutting down several of her events.

Protesters reportedly smashed windows, crockery, and computers while tearing up copies of her book and screaming "Where is Manji."  Her supporters shielded her, and she mercifully escaped with nothing more than a bruised wrist.

The co-founder of the Moral Courage Project at New York University, Manji says her mission is to teach students to "challenge political correctness, intellectual conformity and self-censorship -- within their families, communities and organizations."

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