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Global Condemnation of India Over Anti-Islam Hate Speech

India has been trying hard to pacify the global condemnation and anger of Islamic countries after two senior officials of ruling BJP party has made islamophobic and derogatory remarks against the most cherished figure in Islam-Prophet Muhammad.

Key Points:

  1. Two high rank officials of India’s ruling party made derogatory remarks against Islam and its most cherished figure, Prophet Muhammad.
  2. An International condemnation has started over anti-hate speech against Islam. Muslim countries summoned Indian ambassadors to protest against such remarks and called for Indian prime minister to denounce the comments.
  3. Domestic protests began with slogans and demands to take strict action against the two officials involved and made their arrest.

Nupur Sharma, national spokesperson of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal made insulting comments at a TV debate and Twitter respectively against Muslim worship and Prophet Muhammad. Their comments went viral worldwide with a chorus of diplomatic anger, particularly in Islamic countries. 

A Global Outcry

Governments from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Jordan, Indonesia, libya, Oman and Pakistan condemn these comments.

Qatar summoned the Indian ambassador and demanded an apology from the Indian government. Qatar outright rejected and condemned controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad and expressed the utter disappointment by the State of Qatar.

Similarly, Kuwait also summoned the Indian ambassador and rejected and condemned categorical remarks.

While Pakistan’s prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif says that these comments represent persecution of Muslims and trembling religious freedom in India.

Later, Saudi Arabia and Iran also expressed their annoyance with India against such blasphemous remarks against the messanger of Islam.

UAE and Maldives became the latest partners of India who expressed their denunciation and rejection of the inflammatory comments by the BJP officials. UAE underscores the importance of “preserving and respecting the religious symbols and not violating them, as well as confronting hate speech and violence”.

Response from Indian Governement

In response, BJP sacked both of its officials for their wrongdoing and released a statement saying that it “strongly denounces insults of any religious personalities,”. Kuwait, Qatar and saudi Arabia welcome this action.

India on its part is struggling hard to contain damaging fallouts. There is a widespread condemnation and anger from the gulf, which is also a major trading and energy partner of India. The Government of India says that the comments are made by “fringe elements” and the government has nothing to do with the derogatory remarks. BJP also said “strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks”.

Meanwhile Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also condemned the insulting comments and presented such incidents in the background of already rising islamophobia. OIC said that such remarks took place in a “context of intensifying hatred and abuse towards Islam in India and systematic practices against Muslims”.

However, spokesperson of foreign ministry of India, Arindam Bagchi “categorically rejected” the comments from OIC’s secretariat. He called them “unwanted” and “narrow-minded”. The ministry said that India accords “highest respect to all religions”.

Deep Rooted Polarisation

Ms. Sharma’s and Mr. Jindal’s remarks represented the deep rooted polarisation in India. As, Muslims in India has been facing anti-muslim critics against them since many years over their food, dress, marriage rights, citizenship status and religious places. Hate speech and attacks on Muslims have been rising continuously.

Violence against Muslims has become very rampant, repeated and tragically very normal and accepted.

While the BJP is condemning the insulting remarks, some of the BJP supporters called the action of suspending Ms. Nupur and Mr. Jindal as a “cowardly” act. 

It is shocking and damaging for a country whose persons appointed on positions of responsibility and accountability are indulged in such irresponsible behaviour. 

 A country whose foundations are based on diversity and secularism can not tolerate communal hatred for long. 

Peace must be maintained. Policies and laws should promote equality and freedom to all its citizens irrespective of religion, caste, race, gender and place. It should not be a personal concern of what one should wear and eat, whom one should follow, marry and make reverence or not reverence at all.

People with such a huge population and remarkable diversity can only remain in peace when there exists a respect and tolerance for each other’s religious symbols, choices and freedom of expression.

Outrage in India Over the Insulting Remarks

Source: Rafiq Maqbool

Indian Muslims shouting slogans against the insulting references made against Islam and Prophet Muhammad in a protest held in Mumbai, India.

India is facing a domestic outrage too against the insult of Islam. Many Indian cities are witnessing the protests on streets like in Lucknow and Mumbai.

Source: PTI

Stone pelting and violence took place in Lucknow city. Police have arrested 18 people so far.

Meanwhile Ms. Sharma apologised for her comments. She unconditionally withdrew her remarks. She said in a statement released on Twitter that it was never her intention to hurt the religious feelings of anyone.

Nupur Sharma, apologized for her remarks

Possible Fallouts for Indian Trade Relations 

India can witness a heightened clash between its strategic partnership with gulf nations for trade and energy and increasing marginalisation and overseeing of hardships of over 200 million Muslim population.

This incident has spurred the traction in gulf nations to boycott Indian products. 

Oman’s grand mufti Sheikh Al-Khalili,the chief jurist of Islamic matters, called for complete boycott of Indian products and considered the obscene remarks by Ms. Nupur as a “war against every Muslim.”

Supermarkets in Kuwait begin to remove Indian products from their shelves out of protest.

Undoubtedly, it is not in favour of India when it shared a very cordial relations with energy rich gulf nations for decades. India’s trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stood at a whopping $90 billion. Around 6.5 million Indian population resides and work in these gulf nations. India receives handsome remittances from the gulf region. 

Present government on its part invested hugely to promote and strengthen the relations with the gulf countries which are major energy suppliers of India.

Source: Getty Images/ Crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, being greeted by India’s prime minister Narendra Modi at the presidential house in New Delhi, India.

Even countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain accorded highest civilian awards to the current Prime minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi.

Such incidents put a dent on such peaceful relations among countries and to their people. Of course, India would never want to strain relationships with countries having billions of dollars worth of business ties.

In such a case, India must show its resilience against all such miscreants. It must show its seriousness and ensure non-occurrence of such islamophobic incidents on its land.

Muslims must not confront islamophobia behaviour and practices that are contrary to human and moral values.