//Muslim clerics against Thejas News Paper for publishing Prophet's cartoon

Muslim clerics against Thejas News Paper for publishing Prophet's cartoon

Kozhikode, Feb 20, 

Samastha Kerala Jamiyathul Ulama (SKJU),  the most prominent religious organization of muslim clerics in Kerala today alleged  that a  Malayalam News Paper, Thejas Daily for republishing controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohamed. In a joint press release, muslim clerics said they are thinking of legal proceedings against Thejas News Paper. The statement was  endorsed  by ‘Samastha’s key figures like,  Panakkad Umarali Shihab Thangal,  Cherussery Zainudheen Musliar, K.T. Manu Musliar, Prof. K.  Alikutty Musliar, Kalambady Mohamed Musilar and Kottumala T.M. Bappu Musliar.

Meanwhile, Thejas News paper officials denied the allegation made by muslim clerics. " The allegation was initially appeared in  Chandrika News Paper  which misquoted a news story  published  by us. Probably muslim clerics, should have misquided by the "Chandrika Story, which ended up in condemning us. Our news policy  demands more professionalism and due respect to all faiths. We don’t consider Chandrika’s effort as a rival allegation  to defame us. But It reveals their lack of sense in reading behind the lines".  Thejas officials commented.

Chandrika News paper is controlled by Indian Union Muslim League, a political party with mass muslim representation.  The strong reaction of SKJU’s influential clerics will be a blow to NDF leaders. Thejas News Paper is run by Kozhikode based, Intermedia Publishing Company, which houses many NDF (National Development Front) leaders in its director board. Ironically, critics consider NDF as a muslim organization with extremist views.

Prof. P. Koya, one of the well known human rights activist in the state,  is the Editor of Thejas Daily. Its Executive Editor, Mr.N.P.Chekkutty.who has formerly been director of news and current affairs at Kairali TV and chief reporter for the Indian Express at Kozhikode.

The cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad were originally published by Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s largest daily newspaper, on Sept. 30 and were reprinted by Norway’s Magazinet magazine on Jan. 10.

Leaders of the Muslim community in Denmark called the cartoons an insult to Islam and the Prophet and on Oct. 6, demanded a formal apology from Jyllands-Posten. The editor, Carsten Juste, refused saying that “we live in a democracy where satire and caricature are generally accepted and where religion should not pose any limits on this.”

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh has refused to receive 11 Muslim ambassadors who wished to discuss the issue. His New Year’s message described freedom of expression as both vital and non-negotiable. However he condemned “any form of expression, action or signs that tended to demonize a group of people on the basis of their religion.”

On Jan. 5, an agreement was reached between the Arab League and Denmark not to pursue the controversy any further. However, the republication of the cartoons in Norway’s Magazinet rekindled the controversy and caused many deaths and protest all over the muslim world.

On  Feb 7, IRAN’S largest selling newspaper announced  it was holding a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust in response to the publishing in European papers of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. "It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust," said Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper – which is published by Teheran’s conservative municipality. He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression. "The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let’s see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he said.

Iran’s fiercely anti-Israeli regime is supportive of Holocaust revisionist historians, who maintain the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe’s Jews as well as other groups during World War II has been either invented or exaggerated. Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted international anger when he dismissed the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe’s Jews as a "myth" used to justify the creation of Israel.


various press reports and

Madhyamam Daily, Feb 21, 2006