Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi had apologised for reproducing an ‘offensive’ comment about Prophet Muhammad that was posted on social media. The comment was a response to a story on Kerala High Court judge Kemal Pasha’s observations on polygamy among Muslims and Muslim personal law.
The judge pointing out the misogyny in the law had also asked whether Muslim men would be okay with Muslim women having four husbands.
On Wednesday, the Calicut edition of Mathrubhumi carried responses to Kemal Pasha’s views in the AppsTalk section of the newspaper. One of the posts criticized Prophet, without naming him, for “marrying six-year-old Aisha”. Read The Guardian’s story on Aisha.
The newspaper was bombarded with reactions, including campaigns on social media demanding an apology. Through the day, many groups like the PFI, SDPI and others gathered outside the newspaper’s offices in various locations, raising slogans. Numerous pictures were uploaded on social media showing people burning the newspaper.
By evening, both the newspaper apologised on its social media accounts and the television channel Mathrubhumi News prominently ran tickers carrying an apology for “hurting believers”.
In September 2015, Mathrubhumi stopped running a series of columns by writer MM Basheer, a scholar on the Ramayana. The columns had been sought by the newspaper for its “Stories of Rama with Utmost Reverence” series for the Karkkidakam month, popularly called the Ramayana month in Kerala.
The controversy surfaced after some people objected to Basheer writing about the Ramayana and a group called the Hanuman Sena threatened the newspaper.