Borders statement on banned book goes viral

PETALING JAYA - A statement by the owners of the Borders bookstore chain in support of a manager charged with distributing a banned book by controversial writer Irshad Manji has gone viral.

The statement, published on its official Facebook page on Wednesday, has been shared by 3,092 users as well as received 1,403 "likes" and more than 400 comments.

"Way to go Borders ... Thumbs Up!" said one posting.

Another commented: "Kudos to Borders for standing up for your employee."

"I was impressed with the integrity of your action in supporting your staff. Congratulations," said user Sonia Radhawa.

Bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, 36, from the Borders store at The Gardens Mall in Mid Valley City here was charged in the Syariah High Court on June 19 with distributing the book Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta, the translated Malay version of the original book by Irshad, titled Allah, Liberty and Love.

She had allegedly committed the offence at the bookstore at between 8.41pm and 9.45pm on May 23.

The charge under Section 13(1) of Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Federal Territories) 1997 carries a fine of up to RM3,000 (S$1,200) or jail up to two years or both, upon conviction.

Following the charge against Nik Raina, Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Yau Su Peng expressed the company's disappointment over the accusation by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi).

Yau said Nik Raina had done no more than perform her duties as a store manager and that she (Nik Raina) did not have influence or control over the selection of books at Borders.

Yau contended that the raid by Jawi on the bookstore was made at a time when Irshad's book had not been banned.

The ministry had banned the book on the grounds it had misled the public and gone against syariah law, as prescribed in the Quran and Hadith.

Irshad, who was born in Uganda and has Canadian citizenship, is a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement.

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