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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on April 23, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has upheld the ban by the home ministry on Islamic Renaissance Front Bhd’s (IRF) three books that it imposed two years ago, dismissing the judicial review challenge by the non-governmental organisation.

Justice Datuk Nordin Hassan, in his decision, said the minister’s order to ban the book was in accordance with the law, and the court was satisfied that it had fulfilled its conditions.

“The minister’s order is in order of Section 7(1) of the Publications and Printing Presses Act. In the circumstances the minister’s order has no error in law.

 Initially, Nordin ordered IRF to pay RM5,000 costs but after IRF’s counsel Khoo Guan Huat said that this was a public interest matter, the judge agreed to remove the costs.

IRF had sought a judicial review to challenge the minister’s ban.

One of the books is Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty that was written by Turkish journalist and writer Mustafa Akyol and its Malay version titled Islam Tanpa Keeskstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan published in 2016.

The other two are Wacana Pemikiran Reformis Jilid 1 and Wacana Pemikiran Reformis Jilid 2, written by IRF founder Datuk Ahmad Farouk Musa that were published in 2012 and October 2014 respectively.

The then home minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, ordered the book ban dated Sept 6, 2017, which was challenged by Ahmad Farouk.

Ahmad Farouk, when met by reporters after the decision yesterday, said he will appeal against the decision in the Court of Appeal.

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