Prophet sketch: PM takes up matter to avoid Danish-like row

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Kapil Sibal
New Delhi, Jul 4: If there is one subject that flares up the Indian mindset, it is religion. With secular India's communal face popping out from time to time, this latest instance was an insensitive take on a community's beliefs. A recent report emerged of the revered Prophet Mohammed depicted in a Class 4 moral science text book. The pictorial representation was considered to be a violation of a fundamental tenet of Islam that is against any forms of idol worship.

The matter was taken up by local Muslim groups and launched protests and burning effigies of HRD minister Kapil Sibal. Taking cognizance of the situation and before the matter leads up to a further flare up taking into account the sensitive nature of the situation, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has ordered the HRD ministry to look into the matter. The National security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon is also believed to have written to Sibal in this regard considering the national security risks in the matter.

The Class 4 textbook is subscribed as a recommended reading material by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE). The Prophet's pictures appear in the chapter titled 'Being Good and Gentle'. The HRD ministry has in turn asked the CISCE to review the matter and submit a report.

Various top Muslim leaders including those from Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Hind leader Mahmood Madani have made his displeasure clear and communicated this to the PM and the NSA. They were of the view that the issue could escalate into a national issue similar to the Danish newspaper that sparked outrage across the Muslim community across the world.

The Danish newspaper has irked Muslim sentiments for showing the Prophet in bad light and with the publication stating that it was utilising its freedom of speech and expression. The issue irked the Muslim community across the world and the publications office was attacked as well.

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