On the 23rd May 2012, the Borders bookstore at The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City was raided by JAWI (Jabatan Agama Wilayah Persekutuan, a unit of the Prime Minister’s Department), siezing books by Canadian author Irshad Manji entitled, “Allah, Liberty, and Love“. Borders’ store manager, Nik Raina, who has no control whatsoever over the selection of books in the outlet, was accused by JAWI of contravening the “Hukum Syarak” (Islamic Law) by the distribution of or selling of the books.
If convicted, she may face a fine of RM3,000 or a maximum of two years’ jail – or both.
Then came the investigation on the 30th May 2012, where Nik Raina, her two other colleagues, and a Borders’ appointed lawyer were treated roughly by JAWI personnel and were issued a “Waran Tangkap“. The victims involved were only cooperating with the authorities as instructed and yet, Nik Raina was denied legal representation.
Now, let’s look at this from a bird’s eye view.
Was there any way for Borders, a non-Muslim entity to know that the books were illegal by Islam Law? As a matter of fact, was there any way for Borders to predict that the books were objectionable by JAWI when the Irshad Manji books were only banned by KDN (Kementerian Dalam Negeri) after the Gardens Mall outlet raid? Is it or is it not an outright violation of some sort for JAWI to seize the books without prior fatwa or notification to Borders?
(As point of writing, we learnt that the Borders store manager Nik Raina has already been charged by JAWI in the Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court.)
Do employees or companies not possess any constitutional and legal rights anymore? No say, no voice, and above all, no fight? Leave us your thoughts or head over to Borders Malaysia’s Facebook page to show your support for your local friendly bookstore.