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Turkish writer in Malaysia to speak on religions detained in airport

PETALING JAYA: A Turkish journalist and writer who was invited to speak at a lecture on religions has been detained by Immigration officers at KL International Airport.

Mustafa Akyol was scheduled to speak on the topic “The Islamic Jesus: The Commonalities Between Judaism, Christianity and Islam” at Nottingham University Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur at 2.30pm on Monday.

The lecture, organised by Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), was cancelled after Mustafa was summoned by the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) on Sunday.

It is not known whether Akyol had given a statement to Jawi before he was stopped at KLIA.

IRF chairman Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa confirmed that Mustafa “is detained” at KLIA as he was about to leave the country on Monday.

He told The Star Online in a text reply at 9pm that he “is currently sorting out” the situation over the detention.

Jawi alleged that Mustafa had breached Section 11 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act over the conducting of religious teachings without a tauliah (credentials).

The offence carries a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.

Dr Ahmad Farouk was also summoned by Jawi for allegedly abetting Mustafa, an offence under Section 43 of the same law.

Akyol was in Malaysia over the weekend for several IRF events, including a talk on “Does Freedom of Conscience Open the Floodgate to Apostasy?” and “Is Democracy Still Relevant?”.

The US-based journalist has written on Islamic issues and politics for Turkish newspapers, the New York Times among others.

His books include “Islam Without Extreme: A Muslim Case for Liberty”, which has been translated into Turkish, Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Star Online

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