Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Kenyan publisher withdraws controversial school book depicting Prophet Muhammad

Kenyan publisher withdraws controversial school book depicting Prophet Muhammad
A Kenyan Muslim woman with her children signs a condolence book at   -  
Copyright © africanews
Sayyid Azim/AP


A Kenyan publishing company has withdrawn a text book that featured an image of Prophet Muhammad, following protests by Muslim leaders and parents.

The Muslim community had expressed their concerns about the blasphemous nature of depicting the Prophet and the request for students to colour in the illustration.

Mentor Publishing Company acknowledged the gravity of their mistake, regretting the inclusion of the controversial drawing in their book on Islamic studies designed for second-year primary school pupils.

In Kenya, where about 11% of the population adheres to Islam, this move holds significant importance, as it addresses a sensitive religious matter.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are a deeply sensitive issue for Muslims, as they contravene traditional Islamic beliefs that explicitly forbid visual representations of both the Prophet and Allah (God).

Sheikh Rishard Rajab Ramadhan, a Muslim scholar from the coastal city of Mombasa, described the book's content as "dangerous" for young children and emphasized that such depictions could even lead to conflict.

In a letter addressed to the Muslim community, Mentor Publishing Company acknowledged the sacrilegious nature of the content in their book, known as the "Mentor Encyclopaedia Grade 2". The drawing in question had been inadvertently inserted into the book and mistakenly identified as an image of Prophet Muhammad.

Josephine Wanjuki, the director of Mentor, offered a sincere and wholehearted apology for this error and pledged to prevent such mistakes from recurring. Additionally, the publisher confirmed that the offensive drawing would be removed from all future editions, and they have committed to collaborating with the Muslim Education Council to review their entire catalog of books.

All teachers, students, and school administrators in possession of the book have been advised to return it to the publisher. Sheikh Ramadhan praised this decision to recall the books but urged publishers to consult with Muslim leaders before releasing any materials related to Islamic studies.

View more