PETALING JAYA: Borders bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz has appealed to the Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah to intervene in her long-running legal battle with the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi).
She said she was tired of dealing with Jawi, and pleaded the King to reprimand the religious authority for hounding her for allegedly selling a book deemed un-Islamic.
For the past three years, Nik Raina, 38, had been harassed by Jawi over the sale of the book even though all the three courts – High Court, Court of Appeal and Syariah High Court – had freed her of wrongdoing.
Jawi has filed an appeal against the Federal Territory Syariah High Court's decision on Feb 26 to discharge Nik Raina for selling the book entitled "Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta" at the Borders bookstore at Mid Valley Megamall in 2012.
The book, translated from English, was written by Canadian author Irshad Manji.
"I hope that my rights under the Federal Constitution are protected. As a lay person, what is important is that I have been freed by the three courts.
"I thought the suffering and disgrace I faced for three years had ended. However, my joy was brief as Jawi has appealed," she said in a statement today.
On March 22, 2013, High Court judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof ruled that Jawi's action against Nik Raina was illegal and directed the department to drop its charges against her.
However, Jawi refused and appealed against the civil court's decision. Her case was postponed.
Then on Dec 30 last year, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's ruling, describing Jawi's action as unlawful and unconstitutional.
"I thought the pain and humiliation I suffered for three years ended with the courts' decisions. However, my happiness was short-lived.
Chief syariah prosecutor Mohamad Adib Husain has served the notice of the appeal directly to Nik Raina at her place of work at the Mid Valley Megamall.
Nik Raina also accused Jawi of making her a scapegoat to show off its power.
"My crime was being a Malay and Muslim store manager who could be a scapegoat for Jawi to show its power," she said.
Recalling the pain and humiliation she endured, she said every time she went to court she was called "the accused", and had her freedom restricted while out on bail.
She said some people thought she had "insulted" her religion, and had treated her family with suspicion.
"I was trapped in such a situation and my employer defended me by challenging Jawi through a judicial review that exposed Jawi's lame action," she said.
She added that the religious authority had acted without legal basis in raiding the Borders bookstore on May 23, 2012. The store is owned by Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd.
"We gave full cooperation to Jawi in its investigation but Jawi was rough with the Muslim staff there.
"My employer tried to resolve the matter amicably but Jawi went on to charge me with distributing books against Islam," she added.
Nik Raina said she is "stressed out and I plead to leaders of this country to look at what Jawi is doing, which is making the public, namely Muslims, weary," she said.
She added that it is unfair for her employer to keep paying the legal cost to defend her.
"I am embarrassed to keep burdening my boss that way. On my own, I cannot afford the legal fees. My future job prospects are also jeopardised ... this is my dilemma, which Jawi will never think about."