Malaysia's state censors banned two books on Islam saying they gave a misleading view of the religion - a move slammed Friday by a group of Muslim women activists who published one of them, AP reported.
The Home Ministry of Muslim-majority Malaysia banned the books because they might undermine people's faith, national news agency Bernama reported.
The books were identified as the English-language "Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism" and the Malay-language "Strange but True in Prayers."
An official with the ministry's publishing unit confirmed on Friday that the books had been banned but did not elaborate. She declined to be named because she is not authorized to make public statements. The activist group Sisters in Islam, which published the book on Muslim women, criticized the ban, reported Otago Daily Times.
Norhayati Kaprawi, an official with the group, said the book was an academic work in which female activists and scholars studied the impact of extremism on Muslim women's lives.
"For me, it's very ironic that the book itself is a victim of extremism. Does that mean women cannot even discuss extremism?" she said.
"What do they want us to do? Lie down and shut up?"
Norhayati said Sisters in Islam had not received any complaints about the book, which had been distributed since 2005. The group also was not informed that the book would be banned and what passages had irked authorities, she said.
"Primarily we are surprised," she said.
"We are baffled as to why the book is banned." She added it would be up to distributors to withdraw the book.
Malaysian authorities regularly review books and publications that could have sensitive material, mostly focusing on religion and sex. About two-thirds of the country's 27 million people are Muslims.
Early this year, Malaysia blacklisted 11 books - most of them released by US publishers - for allegedly misrepresenting Islam, such as by linking it to terrorism and the mistreatment of women.