Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri mosque demands withdrawal of textbooks

Even as the controversy over political cartoons in school textbooks is yet to subside, the Muslim community here has objected to two illustrations and the text of a chapter in the Class XI history book published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training under the National Curriculum Framework-2007.

Shahi Imam of the Fatehpuri mosque Mohammad Mukarram Ahmed has written to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, demanding immediate withdrawal of the textbook and an apology from the NCERT.

The controversy relates to a chapter on ‘The Central Islamic Lands’ that has two illustrations. One of them on page 79 depicts a medieval painting of Archangel Gabriel (Jibril) who brought messages to Muhammad. The caption reads: “The first word he spoke was ‘recite’ (iqra) from which has come the word Quran. In Islamic cosmology, angels are one of the three intelligent forms of life in the universe. The other two are human and jinn.”

The other illustration, on page 80, depicts pilgrims at the Kaba taken from a 15th century manuscript. It reads: “A pilgrim touches the black stone (hajr al-aswad) while angels watch.”

When contacted by The Hindu, the NCERT spokesperson said the illustrations and the text had been taken from well-known books on Islamic history and Islamic art. This particular chapter was prepared in consultation with the well-known medieval historian Najaf Haider of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The illustration on page 79 was taken from Bernard Lewis’s book Islam, published by Thames and Hudson in 1992, while the other was reproduced from Barbara Brend’s Islamic Art brought out by the British Museum Press, 1991.

More In: National | News