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Detained Turkish writer investigated by Jawi released

PETALING JAYA: The Turkish writer detained by Immigration officers on Monday night after being invited to speak at various talks on religion in the country has been released.
Turkish writer and journalist Mustafa Akyol was summoned for questioning by the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) on Sunday for breaching Section 11 of the Shariah Criminal Offences Act for conducting religious teachings without a tauliah (credentials).
Jawi director Abdul Aziz Jusoh in a statement said that Mustafa's round table discussion titled “Does Freedom of Conscience Open the Floodgates to Apostasy?” organised by Islamic Renaissance Front's (IRF) on Sunday had received "public complaints" that led to Jawi's investigation
"Due to his failure to present himself to give evidence on the specified date (Monday), Jawi applied to the Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court to issue a warrant of arrest under Section 58 (2) of the Syariah Criminal Procedure (Federal Territories) Act to complete the investigation on conducting religious teachings without tauliah (credentials)," said Abdul Aziz on Tuesday.
The warrant led to Mustafa's arrest at KLIA at 9pm on Monday and was brought to Jawi for questioning.
Abdul Aziz said that Mustafa was released at 12 noon on Tuesday after Jawi completed their investigation and was satisfied that the organiser had not informed him of the need to obtain credentials from the religious authorities in Malaysia.
"Therefore, Jawi advises any organisers to ensure that speakers who are invited to deliver any form of talks relating to Islam to have the proper credentials as required by Malaysian law," said Abdul Aziz.
He said that any speaker who does not have the adequate credentials will be in breach of Section 11 of the Shariah Criminal Offences Act.
If found guilty of the offence, one will be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.
Event organiser IRF chairman Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa confirmed that Mustafa was released and that he left the Travers Police Station at 2.30pm.
Dr Ahmad Farouk said that he is with Mustafa and that he is currently arranging a flight back to Boston, United States for Mustafa.
Dr Ahmad Farouk was also summoned by Jawi for allegedly abetting Mustafa, an offence under Section 43 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act.
He said that he will be giving his statement to Jawi on Wednesday.
Mustafa 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?”.
Mustafa was scheduled to speak on the topic “The Islamic Jesus: The Commonalities Between Judaism, Christianity and Islam” at Nottingham University Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, but it was cancelled at the last moment.
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 Bahasa Indonesia.
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