Outrage over controversial depiction of Imam Khomeini in Class 6 Book; Publisher offers apology

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India Tomorrow


NEW DELHI—
After legal notice and massive protests in Kashmir, a Meerut (U.P.) based publisher Acuber Books International has tendered a public apology over the publication of a piece on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

However, there is a demand for legal action and cancellation of the license of the publisher.

In the general knowledge book named, ‘That’s Right- 6’ for sixth graders, the name of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was listed among the ‘most evil people of the world’ alongside former dictator of North Korea Kim Il-sung and former emperor of Japan Hirohito, who led the country into the World War II. It has been published by Q-Connect Books, a division of Acuber Books International. The publishers have now termed this listing as ‘an oversight.’

After the controversy over objectionable content in a textbook, the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Department clarified that no such book was prescribed or developed by the board.

Writing on Imam Khomeini, the book states, “He used to kill people who didn’t believe in ‘Allah’. People had to face brutality even if they listened to music. He was the culprit behind the Iranian revolution and also the Iran-Iraq war making him responsible for deaths of millions of people.”

The apology issued by the director of Acuber Books International conveyed the publisher’s regret for insulting the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It acknowledged the need for accuracy and sensitivity in educational materials. The letter tries to clarify that it was never their intention to spread misinformation or to contribute to the propagation of harmful narratives.

The apology letter says, “We write to you with utmost sincerity and regret regarding the recent controversy surrounding our publication’s portrayal of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It has come to our attention that labelling him among the ‘most evil men in history’ is not only inaccurate but also deeply offensive to many individuals and communities.”

The letter acknowledges ‘the gravity of the mistake’ and adds that such “mischaracterizations not only undermine truth and justice but also perpetuate harmful stereotypes.”

The letter says, “We understand the importance of rectifying this error swiftly and unequivocally.”

The letter said that the publisher was taking immediate steps to rectify the situation. It also said that the publisher was committed to reviewing and revising their content to ensure accuracy, fairness, and sensitivity in their representations.

The Muslim community, particularly Shia Muslims in Kashmir, had expressed outrage over the objectionable depiction of Imam Khomeini. People in Budgam town and Zadibal quarter of the capital city staged protests demanding action against the publisher.

Anjuman-e-Sharie Shiayan, a prominent organisation of Shia Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir, condemned this hateful depiction of Imam Khomeini and said in a statement that Imam Khomeini was the most respected and morally, religiously and politically impactful Muslim leader of the last century.

A top Shia cleric Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari expressed his anger and demanded cancellation of the publisher’s license. He alleged that such misleading books were being included in the curriculum to hurt the sentiments of Muslims.

Ladakh-based social activist Sajjad Kargili said that the book was hateful and Islamophobic. He demanded that the government should take prompt action and remove these books from the market.

An NGO, Idara-e-Falah-e-Aam, alleged that Imam Khoemini’s negative portrayal was a dangerous trend of using the sacred sector like education as a weapon for the impure agenda of strengthening religious hatred.

Former Srinagar Mayor & Apni Party leader Junaid Azim Mattu wrote on social media platform X, “In the strongest of terms I condemn the unjust, intolerable and unacceptable (mis)portrayal of Ayatollah Imam Khomeini (RA). An FIR should be registered against those responsible for this shameless and intolerable act.”

All Jammu & Kashmir Shia Association termed the depiction of Imam Khomeini as “reckless
characterization not only disregarded historical accuracy but also perpetuated harmful stereotypes”. It also demanded that the government of India should take legal action against the publisher.

Mudassir Ahmad is an Advocate at the J&K High Court. He said that it looked like the publishers of the textbook had wilfully done this act and could attract various penal provisions of the law.

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