Blasphemous sketches condemned

New Delhi: Sacrilegious speeches or writings in offending manner about God, His messengers and sacred things and beliefs are not a new phenomenon; rather it has always been there in human history. Only its forms and modes have changed. The evil forces today, with media power at their disposal, are committing this heinous crime times and again in different types and ways. These days it is done generally by making  cartoons or sketches of God’s messengers and more especially of the Last Prophet (pbuh).

Diamond Comics, in its monthly Hindi series, Comic World’s 78th issue, recently published two sketches of the Prophet of Islam with misleading material under the heading ‘Who is Mohammad’, which states: “The Prophet Mohammad was the founder of the religion of Islam and he is worshipped all over the world as an apostle of God’. This item may be ignored as an outcome of utter ignorance of Diamond Comics people, but why this sketch, when it is commonly known that in the case of the Prophet, Muslims are very sensitive and do not accept his sketches to be made or published. After the publication of this issue of Diamond Comics, Muslims were enraged and community leaders and clerics came out opposing this move loudly.

Among them are Maulanas Arshad Madni, chief of JUH(A), Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, rector of Darul Uloom Deoband, Sufyan Qasmi, vice principal of Darul Uloom Wakf, Jaladuddin Umri, JIH chief, Nizamuddin General Secretary of AIMPLB, Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, General Secretary of IFA, Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi, General Secretary of Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees and many others. They all condemned the Comic World and its editor, printer, and publisher Gulshan Roy and demanded quick action against the publisher and confiscation of all copies of Comic World.

Students of Darul Uloom Deoband held a ‘Save the Sanctity of Prophethood’ conference and sent a complaint letter to the Prime Minister, some people even wrote letters to the Home Minister and Delhi chief minister. Three persons, Shakil Saifi, Azim Gilani and Amanatullah, registered their complaint in Jamia Nagar police station against the Comic World.

Taslim Rahmani, president Muslim Political Council of India said that the law should act against the editor of Comic World. Manzoor Alam Secretary General of Milli Council cautioned the community not to take the law in its hands and move the court against this heinous crime. In Amroah also many organizations issued statements condemning the act.
Diamond Comics, on its part apologized to Muslims, for hurting their religious feelings. According to a report published in Rashtria Sahara Urdu daily on 6 May 2011, Diamond said that it was a mistake. It said that considering feelings of Muslims, it at once had sacked the writer of that material. It also promised that it will not repeat this mistake in future. Besides, it asked the bookstores to remove that issue from their stocks.

The flip side of this story is that the Urdu daily Hamara Samaj, also reproduced the above sketch in its issue of 25 April, then it came with a lame excuse next day, but there was no reaction from the community against this paper at all. The question is: Why this double standard?

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2011 on page no. 4

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