A prominent Indian businessman in the UAE has apologised for "unintentionally hurting religious sentiments" through his poem, which alluded to a Muslim religious group, according to a media report.
Sohan Roy, founder chairman of Sharjah-based Aries Group, in a Facebook live video on Saturday, apologised for his "Islamophobic" post, The Gulf News reported.
In his native Malayalam language poem titled ''Viddi Janman'' (Fool's life), Mr Roy said religion had made people blind as they were ignoring coronavirus restrictions in the name of God.
After facing severe backlash, Mr Roy removed the poem from his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
However, the poem went viral within days of being posted on the internet.
Though the poem did not name any community, images accompanying it in the background showed a preacher leading a crowd of blindfolded men wearing kurta pyjama and skull caps.
The illustration alludes to members of the Tablighi Jamaat, who have emerged as the prime suspects among potential coronavirus carriers, not just in India, but in Pakistan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Mr Roy said the image used with the poem was a mistake on part of his graphic designer based in Kerala.
"There was no malicious intent. It was an honest mistake. That said, I take full responsibility of what has happened. I am sorry if I have unknowingly hurt any religious sentiments. I don''t want to be dragged into a controversy.
"As soon as I realised that people had been offended I did a Facebook live video and apologised," Mr Rao was quoted as saying by the paper.