A Tamil-language newspaper based in Malaysia is facing calls for the publication to be shut down, after it posted a picture of Jesus holding a cigarette and what appears to be a can of beer.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has told the Star newspaper publication on Friday that Malaysians should not offend believers of other religion.
"Do not do things which may offend the believers of other religions ... this is not good," he said in respond to the provocative image printed by Makkal Osai, the Tamil newspaper.
Although remaining silent on whether any measures will be taken against the newspaper, the Prime Minister also added, "This (the image) can make the Christians unhappy. Muslims too cannot tolerate such things."
The BBC reported that Christian groups are saying that actions should be taken, though the newspaper had issued an apology attributing the mistake to the graphic editor who took the image from the Internet.
The image that caused the offence was described by the Star publication as, "Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a canned drink (which looked like beer) in the other with a quote – 'If a person repents his mistakes, heaven awaits him'."