was an honest mistake by a graphic designer.
From the Australian ABC News
A Malaysian newspaper has apologised to Kuala Lumpur's Roman Catholic archbishop after publishing a front page picture of Jesus Christ clutching a cigarette.
The Makkal Osai, a Tamil-language daily, printed the picture earlier in the week, provoking criticism from religious leaders and politicians in multicultural Malaysia.
SM Periasamy, general manager of the paper, said someone had downloaded the image from the internet to illustrate an article, and did not notice that Jesus appeared to be smoking.
"We are sorry for the mistake, but it was a very honest one," he told AFP, adding that the person responsible had been suspended.
Local media reported that the picture also showed Jesus holding a beer can in one hand, but Mr Periasamy said it was in fact non-alcoholic.
He said the paper had written to Murphy Pakiam, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, and he had accepted their apology. They had also explained the mistake to the Malaysian Government, he added.
"At no time did we mean to downgrade any religion," Mr Periasamy said.
The New Straits Times on Thursday (local time) quoted the archbishop as saying the image was upsetting to Catholics but that he considered the matter closed.
The paper also reported that a Malaysian Indian Congress party member lodged a police complaint saying the picture threatened national harmony..
The picture was used to illustrate an article on the sayings of great leaders, and ran with the quote: "If someone repents for his mistakes, then heaven awaits them," the New Straits Times said.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi later said that such images could be hurtful to Christians and disturb religious harmony in the country.
More than 60 per cent of Malaysia's 27 million people are Muslim Malays and Islam is the official religion.
Bagelblogger: I find it extremely hard to believe that a graphic designer accidentally didn't notice that Jesus was smoking and drinking in the picture that appeared on the front page of the The Makkal Osai.
Especially considering 'the picture was used to illustrate an article on the sayings of great leaders, and ran with the quote: "If someone repents for his mistakes, then heaven awaits them'. Poor taste possibly, but an accident? I don't think so.
I wonder how the Islamic world would react to an accidental portrayal of Mohammad holding a Durex condom and a book of nursery rhymes?
ABC: Malaysian paper says sorry over Jesus with cigarette pic
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