Muslim world condemns India over anti-Prophet remarks

| OIC denounces BJP for derogatory comments | Saudi Arabia calls for respect for beliefs, religions | Qatar demands public apology from India | Indian products removed from shops in Kuwait | Islamabad ‘deeply concerned at the alarming rise in hatred against Muslims in India’


ISLAMABAD   -  Muslim countries on Monday condemned the Hindutva regime in India by lodging strong protest on remarks against Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) by top officials of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Saudi Arabia described the comments as insulting and called for respect for beliefs and religions. Qatar summoned Indian ambassadors to its foreign ministry and demanded a public apology from India for the derogatory comments.

Kuwait has also summoned India’s ambassador amid widespread calls on social media for a boycott of Indian goods in the Gulf. Iran summoned Indian ambassador to Tehran to the Foreign Ministry and lodged a strong protest over derogatory remarks.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation said the remarks came in a context of intensifying hatred and abuse toward Islam in India. The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council  also issued a statement condemning Indian official’s remarks.

International backlash is growing against India after a ruling party official made anti-Islam comments during a televised debate. Qatar and several other Muslim nations have lodged official protests against New Delhi and are demanding a “public apology”.

At least five Arab nations lodged official protests against India, and Pakistan and Afghanistan also reacted strongly on Monday to the comments made by two members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Anger has poured out on social media, and calls for a boycott of Indian goods have surfaced in some Arab countries. Al Jazeera TV on Monday reported that Indian products were removed from shelves in some shops in Kuwait. The criticism from Muslim countries had been severe, indicating that insulting Prophet Muhammad is a red line.

The anger has been growing since last week after the two BJP members – national spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and Delhi BJP staff Naveen Jindal – made remarks that were seen as insulting Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha.

Modi’s party took no action against them until Sunday when a chorus of diplomatic outrage began with Qatar and Kuwait summoning their Indian ambassadors to protest.

‘Systemic hate speech’

In a statement, Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi said “these insulting remarks would lead to incitement of religious hatred, and offend more than two billion Muslims around the world”.

Doha is expecting “a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks” from the Indian government, said the statement, which came as India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the wealthy Gulf state on Sunday in a bid to bolster trade.

In a tweet, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah al-Khater said: “The Islamophobic discourse has reached dangerous levels in a country long known for its diversity and coexistence. Unless officially and systemically confronted, the systemic hate speech targeting Islam in India will be considered a deliberate insult against two billion Muslims.”

Kuwait warned that if the comments against Prophet Muhammad go unpunished, India would see “an increase of extremism and hatred”.

The grand mufti of the sultanate of Oman described the “obscene rudeness” of Modi’s party towards Islam as a form of “war”. And Saudi Arabia said the comments were “insulting” and called for “respect for beliefs and religions” as it and Iran lodged complaints with India.

Also, Pakistan Armed Forces strongly condemn blasphemous remarks by Indian officials. “The outrageous act is deeply hurtful and clearly indicates extreme level of hate against Muslims and other religions in India,” Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar said in a tweet on Monday.

‘Totally unacceptable’

The Indian Charge d’ Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Affairs and conveyed the Pakistan’s categorical rejection and strong condemnation of the highly derogatory remarks made by two senior officials of India’s ruling party BJP about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

According to the Foreign Office, he was told that these remarks are totally unacceptable and have not only deeply hurt the sentiments of the people of Pakistan but of Muslims across the world.

The Indian diplomat was further told that Pakistan deplores the belated and perfunctory disciplinary actions taken by the BJP government against the said officials, which cannot assuage the pain caused to the Muslims.

Pakistan is deeply concerned at the alarming rise in communal violence and hatred against the Muslims in India. Muslims are being systematically stigmatised, marginalised and subjected to a well-orchestrated onslaught from radical Hindu mobs with full connivance and support of the security apparatus across various states in India.

The growing mainstreaming of the reprehensible anti-Muslim sentiment and the increasing attempts at depriving the Muslims of their centuries-old places of worship citing frivolous historical claims, are nothing but the obvious outcomes of the deep-seated Islamophobia in the Indian society.

Pakistan strongly urges the BJP leadership and the government of India to unequivocally condemn the sacrilegious comments of the BJP officials and ensure that they are held accountable through decisive and demonstrable action against them for attacking the dignity of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).The government of India is also reminded of its obligations under international law to take immediate steps to protect its minorities from human rights violations, ensure their safety, security and well-being and allow them to profess and practice their faiths in peace.

Pakistan urged the international community, including the United Nations and OIC, especially their human rights machinery, to take cognizance of and stop the dangerously rising ‘Hindutva’ inspired Islamophobia in India, and prevail upon the Indian authorities to prevent the systematic human rights violations against minorities in the country.

‘Systematic practices against Indian Muslims’

General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has strongly condemned and denounced the recent denigration of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) by an official of India’s ruling party.

“These cases of defamation are part of a growing spate of hatred and defamation of Islam in India and systematic practices against Indian Muslims,” the OIC General Secretariat said in a statement.

The OIC mentioned India’s set of decisions to prohibit the use of hijab in educational institutions in some Indian states, including demolition of Muslims’ properties and growing violence against them.

The OIC called on the Indian authorities to decisively address these incidents of defamation and all forms of insult to the noble Prophet and Islam and to bring those who incite and perpetrate violence against Muslims to justice and hold those behind them accountable.

It also called on the Indian authorities to ensure the safety, security and well-being Muslims in India and protect their rights as well as religious and cultural identity, dignity and places of worship.

The General Secretariat called on the international community, in particular, the United Nations mechanisms and the Human Rights Council’s special measures, to take necessary measures to challenge practices targeting Muslims in India.