I’ve yet to read a word Irshad Manji has set to paper but while I can’t be a judge of her actual writing I certainly admire her courage. In the course of one book tour she’s faced more abuse than the average controversialist can even dream of. Her readings were attacked in the Netherlands by thugs who claimed they’d break her neck; she was physically assaulted in Indonesia and now Malaysia have banned her book. You can see them being removed by an Islamic Religious Department “enforcement officer” on the right. I’m only surprised that he isn’t wearing gloves.

The home of the “Global Movement of Moderates” will be denied her writing, government officials say, because the work “promotes mixed marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims” and “could lead to pluralism”. (Shock!) Moreover, it “contains insulting elements towards the prophet” and, thus, “could pollute the sanctity of Islam”. (Horror!) It’s heretical perspective “may confuse the public” and the dogmatists in power can’t possibly allow them to be “confused” by the chance for independent thought. We know what happens to “confused” people in Malaysia: they’re taken away for therapy or carted off to rehabilitation centres. These are held up, with some justice, as being among the more liberal and cosmopolitan members of their faith and yet they remain a dangerously regressive force as, among other things, they aren’t merely hostile to criticism but downright allergic to it. (H/t.)

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