CAIRO - A new tour launched in Malaysia by a lesbian Canadian writer to promote her new gay book has stirred up controversy in the Muslim-majority country, rejecting the messages conveyed in the book as contradicting with Islamic laws.
The Canadian author "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender" (LGBT) ideology contradicts the laws of the Malaysia, Jamil Khir Baharom, the Islamic affairs minister, told the Malaysian Insider on Saturday, May 19.
Controversy started when Irshad Manji, an Ugandan-born Canadian author, launched a new tour in Malaysia to promote her book "Allah, Liberty and Love."
Rejecting the ideas prevailed in the book, Baharom cited Article 3(1) of the Constitution which makes Islam the official religion and other Acts of Parliament as well as state Islamic enactments.
"The government views seriously this ideology brought by Irshad Manji and its implications for Muslims here," the senator was quoted by Bernama as saying in Gurun, Kedah.
Baharom had said Islamic officials and the Home Ministry would not allow the author's roadshow in the country following complaints.
He was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying earlier on Saturday that the book was offensive to Muslims as was Manji's ideology and openly gay lifestyle, which was deemed to be against Islam.
Manji, whose other book The Trouble With Islam Today has been banned in Malaysia, announced in Thursday she had cancelled all her promotional activities but "I am committed to holding one public discussion in Kuala Lumpur" before leaving.
The 48-year-old said on micro-blogging site Twitter Borders bookstore and Monash University cancelled her events citing security concerns.
Later on, she hastily arranged an event in the capital Kuala Lumpur after two other venues pulled out of hosting her, according to local publisher ZI Publications.
"Fantastic event in KL! Great energy -- except 4 cops who told latecomers that event is banned. Didn't stop us. Congrats 2 all," Manji wrote on Twitter.
Seeing rising criticism, the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) said it will review Manji's book before any proposal can be made to the Home Ministry to ban her literary work.
"We will be getting copies of the book soon, Jakim director-general Othman Mustapha told The Malaysia Star on Saturday.
Once we have gone through and find reasons why it should be banned, we will propose this to the ministry," he added.
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI called for defending humanity against the threat posed by homosexual behaviors, warning homosexual acts could lead to the self-destruction of the human race.
Muslim Malays form about 60 percent of Malaysia's 26-million population, while Christians make up around 9.1 percent.