8 books in the Agama Tamadun Dan Arkeologi (Religion, Civilisation and Archaeology) series are being immediately withdrawn from all libraries after concerns regarding its content were raised.
The books, which were displayed in the non-fiction junior section in at least one library, were published in Malaysia in 2013. They were flagged due to some controversial imagery, statements and declarations including:
- An image of smiling children wearing yarmulkes and holding machine guns that was featured on the cover of one book;
- A declaration found in one book of how World War 3 will “start in the Middle East between Israel and the neighbouring countries, which are the Arab states.”;
- Statements in some books denigrating women – one book states that in one religion women are on the same level as servants and that they can be sold by their fathers. Another volume discusses how one religion upholds the belief that “”plague, hell, poison, snakes and fire are all better than women.”
Calling the contents of the book “worrying,” Mr Muhammad Faiz, President of the Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore (Darul Arqam), said: “I think it is careless to have such things available, especially if it was found in the junior section. If (youth) don’t seek clarification, then it will form a certain mindset. It could create dangerous impressions.”
Malaysian Mr Inbaraj Suppiah has also reported the books to the Ministry of Home Affairs (Moha) in Malaysia: “The content looks shady. They should investigate, because usually Moha is very strict with such publications.”
About 30 copies of each title were available in public libraries before the recall. An NLB spokesman has said that the Board takes feedback about the series very seriously and that the Library Consultative Panel will be called to convene and review the series.