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Irancell apologizes for ‘insulting’ the Prophet’s companion Umar

Published: Updated:

Irancell has apologized to Sunni Muslims for a mobile phone competition seen as insulting to Muslim caliph and the Prophet Mohammad’s companion Umar bin al-Khattab.

The second largest mobile operator in Iran had sent its subscribers a quiz question deemed offensive to Sunni Muslims, Iran Daily Brief website reported Monday.

The telecom operator asked its subscribers: “Which judge was deceived by the Devil during the time of (the first Shiite Imam) Imam Ali?”

The two answer options given were: A) Sharih Qazi, the Sunni arbiter of Kufa city, in the first century of Islam. B) Umar bin al-Khattab, the second Muslim caliph.

A Sunni Friday prayer imam in the city of Zahedan, Mowlavi Abdolhamid Esma’ilzehi, said Irancell “had insulted one of the greatest men of Islam,” according to the website of Iran Daily Brief.

The public prosecutor in Zahedan reportedly raised charges against Irancell, the website added.

The website reported that the mobile company issued a statement saying: “It was committed to respecting the unity of Muslims, religious proximity and all divine religions.”

The Golden Key Institute, the organizer of the competition, also issued a statement saying that “Umar bin-al-Khattab was not alive during the period of time mentioned in the question, and therefore this cannot be the correct answer,” according to the Website.

Sunnis view Umar as a very important figure and just leader in the history of Islam. Shiites, however, do not view Umar as a legitimate leader of the Muslim Ummah (Muslim nation) arguing that Umar and Abu Bakr conspired to seize power from Ali, highly regarded in Shiite Islam.