One book documents bloody race riots that erupted in 2001 in a rundown suburb of Kuala Lumpur, shocking Malaysia, where ethnic clashes are rare.
Race and religion are considered sensitive topics by the government of mainly Muslim Malaysia, while sex and sexuality are also taboo areas.
Suaram said it was "unacceptable" that academic titles such as The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong, and John L Esposito's What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam were banned.
The organisation said: "The ban of academic works by the ministry is a death knell to academic freedom in Malaysia.
"More importantly, the ban of these books violates the freedom of expression of the authors and the right to receive and impart information freely of the general public."
The group called for authors to be given the right to appeal the ban and to seek redress in Malaysian courts if the ministry rejected the appeal.
Other titles on the banned list include Cannabis Culture, Weed World and Classic Nude Photography Techniques and Images.