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“Fifty Shades of Grey” and other books banned in Malaysia

Weeks after the banning of the erotic romance film “Fifty Shades of Grey” in Malaysia, the Home Ministry has proceeded to now ban the entire erotica novel trilogy; “Fifty Shades Of Grey”, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed”.

The reason of the book ban follows the decision to ban the movie and also because the books are said to contain "sadistic" material and "threat to morality", even though they were previously available at bookstores in Malaysia for the past three years before the release of the movie.

According to the Malay Mail, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, “The printing, importation, production, reproduction, publishing, sale, issue, circulation, distribution or possession of the publication described in the schedule, which is likely to be prejudicial to morality, are absolutely prohibited throughout Malaysia.”

With the new books series added to the list, we look back at five other popular books which are also banned in Malaysia.

1. “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie

The book was banned in many Islamic countries for its alleged blasphemy against Islam, the Prophet and the Qur'an as it is said to mock the faith of Muslims. Due to the outrage among Muslims, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the death of the author and those involved in its publication that are aware of its content.

2. “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe

The book is Achebe’s debut novel which centres on the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries. Though the book received global critical acclaim, it is banned in Malaysia for its portrayal of colonialism and its consequences.

3. “Perempuan Nan Bercinta” by Faisal Tehrani

The book was launched by Prime Minister Najb Razak, but was then banned by the Home Ministry for promoting Shiism (Shia Islam), the second largest branch of Islam. This is prohibited in Malaysia as the Muslims in our country practices Sunni Islam, the largest denomination of Islam.

4. “The Line of Beauty” by Alan Hollinghurst

Though the book is a Booker Prize-winning novel, it is banned in Malaysia because it falls under the gay literature genre which promotes homosexuality. Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia because it is an Islamic country.

5. “Allah, Liberty and Love” by Irshad Manji

Written by a Canadian Muslim, the book was banned in Malaysia for depicting elements that deviate Muslims from their faith, the wrong portrayal of Islamic teachings as well as elements which insulted Islam. Manji’s previous book “The Trouble With Islam Today”, was also banned in Malaysia.

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