A series of Malaysian books published in 2013 titled Agama, Tamadun Dan Arkeologi (Religion, Civilisation and Archeology) have been pulled from the National Library Board’s shelves after complaints were lodged over its contents.
According to NLB’s online resources webpage, there were 30 copies of the books in libraries, with 6 currently out on loan. The books could have been found in the junior non-fiction section.
From the complaints, one of the books had on its cover children wearing yarmulkes, smiling as they held machine guns. In some of the books in the series, there are declarations that the third world war would erupt in the Middle East “between Israel and the neighbouring countries, which are the Arab states.”
Some of the statements indicated that in one religion, people used to view their daughters on the same level as servants, and that their fathers held the right to sell them.
Another volume describes how one religion believes that “plague, hell, poison, snakes and fire are all better than women”.
The Twitter user who posted photos of the books on Sunday and brought the objectionable content to light has been deleted after facing harsh criticism from other users.
An NLB spokesman told reporters: “While NLB will do our best to ensure that our collection does not cause offence, we are unable to vet every single title before putting the books on the shelves.
“We take the feedback on the Agama, Tamadun Dan Arkeologi seriously and will withdraw the books immediately.
“NLB will call upon the Library Consultative Panel (LCP) to review the series.”
LCP is an independent panel that provides recommendations to NLB on its review of library materials. After parts of the series were read to Mr Muhammed Faiz, president of the Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore (Darul Arqam), he felt that the content was “worrying”.
Mr Faiz told TNP: “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.”
The books have also been reported to the Ministry of Home Affairs (Moha) in Malaysia by a Malaysian.