Several Muslim organisations have condemned the violent attack on and chopping off of the hand of T.J. Joseph, a professor in Kerala's Ernakulam district by some miscreants on the pretext of avenging blasphemy.

In a joint statement, they said: “We feel that law was taking its due course against the professor for his misdeed and he was already suspended from his college for a year due to his insult to the Prophet of Islam …”

The signatories are Manzoor Alam, secretary-general, All India Milli Council; Mohammad Jafar, Naib Ameer, Jamaat e Islami Hind and acting president, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat; Zafarul-Islam Khan, former president, All India Muslim Majlis e Mushawarat and Editor of The Milli Gazette; Niaz Farouqui, secretary, Jamiat Ulama e Hind; Navaid Hamid, general secretary, Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians and member of the National Integration Council.

The statement said: “Those who attacked Mr. Joseph forgot that the Prophet of Islam, upon whom be peace, in his own life had pardoned a Jewess who used to throw garbage on him and when she did not do so one day, the Prophet enquired about her and upon being told that she was ill, went to wish her early recovery and good health. The Prophet forgave the people of Mecca after its conquest although they had pained him, expelled him from his hometown and had waged war against him for years.”

The attack on the professor was against the basic tenets of Islam and the Sunnah of the Prophet which laid emphasis on forgiveness. Islam explicitly forbade one from taking the law into one's own hands when there were competent authorities to deal with an issue.

“We hope that the law will take its due course to punish the criminals who attacked Mr. Joseph. They have clearly sinned and defamed Islam by committing this crime which we condemn without reservations. We also appreciate the youth wing of the Jamat-e-Islami Hind and workers of Solidarity for donating blood for Mr. Joseph in hospital.” the statement said.Condemning the attack, Citizens for Justice and Peace secretary Teesta Setalvad said: “Though the identity of the assailants is still under investigation, media reports suggest that the professor was attacked by three persons armed with swords — who police reports say, belong to the Popular Front of India.”

If his remarks in the question paper were either inflammatory or defamatory, there were saner and democratic means to deal with them. “Are we so fickle in our convictions and in our faith that we cannot tolerate discussion and debate? If the words or thoughts or sentiments of anyone hurt us, do we have the right to resort to barbaric and unlawful means of redressal,” she asked in a statement.

“Outfits like the PDP and NDF in Kerala have been allowed to carry out a brand of intolerant acts unchecked. This is dangerous to the syncretic traditions of Kerala and the secular traditions of the country as a whole.”