MANIPUR, India – The portrayal of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) in primary school book is inviting a storm of anger from Indian Muslims, amid calls for banning the blasphemous book.
“Islam prohibits pictorial representation of Prophet Muhammad,” Md Burhanuddin, president of Pangal Students Organization (PSO), told Daily News & Analysis on Monday, June 25.
A book prescribed for kindergarten in the north-eastern state of Manipur portrays a bearded man said to be the Prophet wearing turban and holding a book-like object.
One page of the book also carries pictures of the Prophet along with five other gods.
Though it was not prescribed by the Manipur government, the book is used at a number of private schools.
The controversial book, Prime General Knowledge, is published by Prime Publications and printed at Sangai Offset Printers in Imphal.
Once published, protests erupted in Manipur demanding withdrawal of the book and punishing the publishers and the author.
The protests were led by PSO as well as Manipur unit of Popular Front of India (PFI), who burnt copies of the book.
The PFI has demanded an immediate ban of the book.
The PSO said it would ban all books of Prime Publications if it failed to visit its office and apologize by Monday.
“They have made a grave mistake,” PSO advisor H Rahman said
“But adopting violent means against them will be against Islam. We want them to come to us and apologize.”
Muslim leaders in Manipur stressed that Islam prohibits depicting Prophet Muhammad in movies or pictures.
“Nobody can create any picture of the Prophet,” PFI’s Manipur unit president Mufti Arshad Hussain said.
“This is against Islam.”
Burhanuddin, the PSO president, agreed.
"Muhammad was against portraits of himself and not creating his picture has become kind of a rule since then,” he said.
“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.”
Islam strictly prohibits the depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous.
Cartoons of Prophet Muhammad sparked an international crisis in 2005, when a Danish daily published 12 drawings of a man said to be the prophet.
The drawings included one showing the prophet wearing a tomb-shaped turban and another showing him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.
The cartoons were later reprinted by European newspapers on claims of freedom of expression, straining ties between the Muslim world and the West.Following the cartoons crisis, Muslims worldwide took many initiatives to remove widely circulated stereotypes about Islam in the West.
Related Links:French Magazine Banned for Prophet Photo
Twitter Banned Over Prophet Contest
Anti-Prophet Cartoon Sparks Egypt Clashes
Anti-Prophet Album for Norway Top Award
US Judge Defends ‘Zombie Prophet’ Verdict