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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Prophet ‘pic’ in school book irks Muslims

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Imphal, June 24, 2012
First Published: 23:35 IST(24/6/2012) | Last Updated: 01:34 IST(25/6/2012)

A month after an Ambedkar cartoon in NCERT books rubbed Dalits the wrong way, a picture of Prophet Mohammed in a primary school general knowledge book has angered Muslims in Manipur.

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They have sought a ban on the book besides an apology from the publishers and author S Babyla Jassal.

The locally-published kindergarten book used across private schools in Manipur shows the Prophet with flowing beard and turban and holding a book-like object. He features on page 51 with five other 'Indian deities' - Ganesh, Vishnu, Saraswati, Jesus and Mother Mary.

"Mohammed was against portraits of himself and not creating his picture has become kind of a rule since then. According to Islam, there is no picture or photo of the Prophet. How can he be depicted when no one in the world knows how he looks? This is against Islam," Md Burhanuddin, advisor of Pangal Students' Organisation, said. Manipuri Muslims are called Pangals.

Members of PSO and other organisations such as Popular Front of India (PFI-Manipur unit) and Pangal Political Forum burnt copies of the contentious kindergarten book on Sunday. Some copies, collected from schools and shops were also burnt on Saturday.

An official spokesperson said the book in question was not prescribed by the Manipur government. "The Board of Secondary Education, Manipur prescribes textbooks from Class 1 onwards. Private schools choose their textbooks," he said.

But the Muslim organizations want the government to step in, though the publisher has made an assurance that the objectionable page would be removed and rectified in future publications.


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