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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nik Raina: Free At Last

Nik Raina Nik Abdul AzizNik Raina of Borders
Borders Bookstore Manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz said that legal battle with Islamic authorities over a charge of selling and distributing a book deemed to be against Islam had changed her and made her realise her larger role to ensure other Muslims are not harassed for doing their jobs.
Given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Shariah High Court today, Nik Raina said she had been a shy and reserved person before the raid on May 23, 2012 on the bookstore where she worked, but her ordeal had turned her into a more outspoken person.
Along the way, she realised that she had a role to play in facing up to the charges against her.Nik Raina said most of the management staff at Borders are Muslims, and she feared they could be subject to the same intimidation if she did not stand up for her rights in facing the charges.
“I stand here today not only for myself, but for all my colleagues, especially the Muslims Irshad Manjiwho could face the same action by the religious authorities for merely doing our jobs,” she said outside the court today.
Nik Raina had been charged with selling and distributing the book “Allah, Liberty and Love” by controversial Muslim writer Irshad Manji (right).
The Borders employee said she drew comfort from the company’s top management, adding that Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan would always tell her when they met at company events, “Do not be afraid”.
Nik Raina said she would never forget these words, which were also repeated to her by Tan’s son, Datuk Robin Tan, after he took over his father’s portfolio in the group.
“He would tell me what his father used to say to me, to not be afraid, that I have done nothing wrong,” she said.Still, Nik Raina never imagined when she took this job over seven years ago that she would get into this much of trouble.
Yet, even after the ordeal, there was nowhere else she would rather work because she felt it was “right” to be working with Borders, she said as she fought back tears.
“From the first day I had my interview with them, it felt like the right place to be, because the interviewers were so welcoming.I would not want to be anywhere else,” she said.
Nik Raina said she felt that the Shariah prosecutor’s submission in court today, where he had told the Judge that the pressure she faced was not his problem, was as though his main intention was to punish her.
Rosli Dahlan (new)Nik Raina’s “Best Lawyer Ever”
This was after her lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, submitted that Nik Raina faced anguish and pressure in having this case hanging over her head for the past three years. “He could so easily say that I went the wrong way and so it was my problem.But he did not put himself in my shoes. And what about the anguish faced by my family, especially my father, who has been so worried about this case?” she said.
Nik Raina was equally emotional when she spoke about the support from Rosli.”He is the best lawyer ever”.

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