After Sonu Nigam stoked controversy by criticising azaan over "forced religiousness", the Islamic call for prayer is once again in the line of fire. Now, a Class 6 ICSE textbook has equated azaan with noise pollution, Times Now reported.
The depiction in the science textbook, Integrated Science, led to an online petition and has also received flak on social media for Islamophobia. The picture, shared widely on social media, shows a train, car, plane and a mosque, all with symbols depicting loud sound, next to a man grimacing and shutting his ears.
The ICSE, however, maintained the board did not publish or prescribe textbooks, and that schools had to deal with the issue. Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, said the board does not publish or prescribe textbooks for schools.
"If any book with objectionable content is being taught at certain schools, it is for schools and publisher to ensure such a thing does not happen," he told PTI.
Selina Publishers issued an apology, saying they did not intend to hurt the sentiments of any community. "This is to inform all concerned that we will be changing the picture in subsequent editions of the book," publisher Hemant Gupta said on social media sites.
Gupta added that the diagram on page 202 of its publication consisted of "a structure resembling a portion of a fort and other noise producing objects in a noisy city".
In April, Sonu Nigam went on a Twitter rant against the blaring loudspeakers used for religious sermons, especially during the wee hours of the morning.
While his comments drew support and censure in equal measure, it particularly raised the hackles of a maulvi in West Bengal, who branded Nigam an "anti-national" and offered a Rs 10 lakh award to anyone who would "shave his head, garland him with torn shoes, and parade him around the country".
Nigam promptly offered to get celebrity hairstylist Aalim Hakim to shave off his hair, in exchange for the promised Rs 10 lakh.
Recently, the imam of Chandigarh's Jama Masjid added that the noise of the loudspeakers must not disturb non-Muslims.
“We should not bother our neighbours unnecessarily. The volume of our loudspeakers should be brought down to a level that it does not disturb them. I believe that disturbing the neighbours is a nuisance, which is forbidden in Islam,” Hindustan Times quoted Maulana Ajmal Khan as saying.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jul 02, 2017 14:38 PM