16 Nations Call Out BJP Leader Nupur Sharma's Remarks on Prophet; India Responds
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain welcomed the BJP's decision to suspend the party spokeswoman for her derogatory remarks.
Sixteen nations, as well as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which consists of 56 member states, have censured the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the controversial remarks made by ex-party spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and former Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal against Prophet Muhammad.
The list of countries that have censured the ruling government includes Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Indonesia, UAE, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Libya, Taliban in Afghanistan, Jordan, Turkey, and the Maldives.
Indian ambassadors to Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, and Qatar were also summoned by the foreign ministries of the respective countries.
The BJP on Sunday suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal from the party's primary membership after public outrage in several Islamic nations.
This comes after the party sought to defuse a row over the comments made by Sharma against Prophet Muhammad during a debate on a television channel. When the controversy snowballed, Jindal posted a controversial tweet about the Prophet, which he later deleted.
'Want Public Apology': Kuwait to India
Kuwait's Foreign Ministry, in a tweet, said it had summoned the Ambassador to India. The country handed him a protest note stating it "rejects and denounces the statements made by an official in the ruling party against the Holy Prophet."
According to a statement, Kuwait demanded a "public apology for these hostile statements, the continuation of which would constitute a deterrent measure or punishment to increase extremism and hatred and undermine the elements of moderation."
Iran Summons Indian Envoy
Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs too summoned the Indian ambassador to Tehran over what the state media called an "insult against the Prophet of Islam in an Indian TV show," Iran International reported.
Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is scheduled to visit Delhi, in his first-ever trip to the Indian capital next week.
'Can Impact Economic Ties': Warns Qatar
A senior official at the Qatar Embassy in New Delhi said that PM Modi's government must publicly distance itself from the comments.
"Hurting our religious sentiments can directly impact economic ties," Reuters quoted the official as saying.
The Foreign Ministry of Qatar tweeted a statement on Monday, "...whoever made these statements is undoubtedly ignorant of the position of the Prophet Mohammed (may blessings and peace be upon him) among Muslims and their veneration of him and that attacking him is a deliberate provocation of the feelings of all Muslims."
Pakistan Weighs In, Summons Indian Charge d’ Affaires
Pakistan also echoed concerns of the Arab nations, saying that it "strongly condemn and reject the totally unacceptable derogatory remarks by BJP officials about Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This has deeply hurt sentiments of Muslims in Pakistan, India & across the world."
The neighbouring nation also made a strong démarche to the Indian Charge d’ Affaires in Islamabad over the matter.
According to a statement by the Foreign Office, "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."
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Censures BJP, Calls Upon UN
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, an intergovernmental organisation, which consists of 57 member states, also strongly condemned the "abuse of Prophet Muhammad by an official in the ruling party in India."
In a statement, the OIC said, "These abuses come in the context of the escalation of hatred and abuse of Islam in India."
OIC also called upon the United Nations (UN) to take necessary measures to address "the practices targeting Muslims in India."
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Welcome Sharma's Suspension
The Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, condemned and denunciated the statements made by the BJP spokesperson and said:
Bahrain's External Affairs Ministry, too, welcomed BJP's decision to suspend Sharma, stressing on the need to denounce any reprehensible insults against Prophet Muhammad.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses the importance of respecting all religious beliefs, symbols and personalities, and the concerted efforts of the international community to spread the values of moderation, tolerance and dialogue between religions," the statement added.
'Insulting Statements': UAE
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday condemned statements by the BJP spokesperson, expressing its denunciation and rejection of insults of the Prophet Muhammad.
It further underscored the need to respect religious symbols and not violate them, as well as confront hate speech and violence.
Indonesia Condemns 'Derogatory' Statements
Meanwhile, Muslim-majority Indonesia has also condemned the "derogatory" statements against Prophet Muhammad and said that the same has been conveyed to the Indian Ambassador in Jakarta.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia tweeted on Monday, "Indonesia strongly condemns unacceptable derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad PBUH by two Indian politicians. This message has been conveyed to Indian Ambassador in Jakarta."
'Offensive': Oman to Indian Ambassador
The Foreign Ministry of Oman released a statement on Monday, condemning the "offensive" statements of the BJP leaders against Prophet Mohammed.
Oman's Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Issa Al Harthy, undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Diplomatic Affairs, met with the Indian Ambassador of Oman and expressed his "condemnation of the offensive statements of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Islam and Muslims issued by a BJP official."
He also reiterated the Sultanate of Oman's adherence to a culture of tolerance and coexistence, confronting hatred and respecting beliefs and religion.
Taliban in Afghanistan React to BJP Leaders' Comments
The Taliban in Afghanistan added that the Indian government should not not let "fanatics" insult the Islamic religion.
A spokesperson from the militant group said, "We urge the Indian government not to allow such fanatics to insult the holy religion of Islam and provoke the feelings of Muslims."
Jordan, Maldives Condemn Statements
Jordan's Foreign Ministry took to social media to condemn "in the strongest terms" the insulting statements made by the spokesperson of the BJP on the Prophet.
The Foreign Ministry tweeted on Monday, "...condemned in the strongest terms the offensive statements of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, issued by the spokeswoman for the Indian Bharatiya Janata Party."
Meanwhile, the Maldives also released a statement on Monday, "unreservedly" condemning the derogatory statements against Prophet Mohammed but welcomed the Indian government's denouncement of the remarks made by the two BJP politicians.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement, "The Government of Maldives unreservedly condemns all and any action that purports to pervert the true nature and teachings of Islam and attempts to demean the holy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)."
It added, "In this regard the Government of Maldives is deeply concerned by the derogatory remarks made by some officials of BJP, India, insulting the holy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and the religion of Islam."
Iraq Summons Indian Ambassador, India Replies
Meanwhile, marking a strong protest against Sharma's remarks, the Parliamentary Endowments and Tribes Committee in Iraq summoned the Indian ambassador over the comments.
In a statement, the committee said, "These abuses, malicious and disgraceful acts will have serious repercussions and, if not contained, may lead to dire consequences that will have unimaginable consequences for the peaceful coexistence, as well as increase strife and tensions between people," Iraqi News Agency reported.
Responding to the call on Tuesday, the Indian Embassy in Iraq noted that the comments do not reflect the views of the Government of India. "Strong action has been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks," the statement added.
Libya Condemns 'Insulting' Statements on Prophet Muhammad
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Libya released a statement on Monday, "strongly" condemning the "insulting" statements against Prophet Muhammad, which is "hostile to Islam and Muslims.
The Foreign Ministry called for a "consolidation of the values of tolerance and co-existence" and rejected the discourse of violence, hatred and respect for heavenly beliefs.
'An Insult to Muslims': Turkey Condemns BJP
Turkey also joined the nations in condemning the remarks, with the ruling party spokesperson Omer Celik saying that the BJP leader's comments were an "insult not only to Muslims in India but also to Muslims all over the world."
"We condemn the insulting statements of an official from the Indian ruling party (BJP) against the Prophet in the strongest possible terms," the statement read.
'Generated Rage Among Muslim Ummah,' says Malaysia
The Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned "derogatory remarks made by Indian politicians against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)" and summoned the Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia to convey their "total repudiation" over the incident, a ministry press release said.
Calling upon India "to work together in ending the Islamophobia and cease any provocative acts in the interest of peace and stability," the Malaysian Foreign Ministry further "welcomed the decision by the ruling party to suspend the party's officials," the press release added.
'Stand of Fringe Elements, Not India's': Indian Govt
The Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday had summoned Indian ambassador Dr Deepak Mittal and handed him an official note, expressing "disappointment of the State of Qatar and its total rejection and condemnation to the controversial remarks made by an official in the ruling party in India against Prophet Muhammad."
Responding to this, the Indian government told its Qatar counterpart that:
"In line with our civilisational heritage and strong cultural traditions of unity in diversity, Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions. Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks," read the statement.
"Ambassador conveyed that the tweets did not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements," a press release by Embassy of India-Doha further added.
'Strongly Encourage Respect for All Religions': Spokesperson of UN Secretary General
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres weighed in on the matter, saying, "We strongly encourage respect and tolerance for all religions."
His comments came in response to a question by a Pakistani journalist regarding criticism of India by several Muslim countries over Sharma's remarks.
"I've seen stories. I haven't seen the remarks themselves, but I mean, regardless, I can tell you that we strongly encourage respect and tolerance for all religions," said spokesperson of the secretary general Stephane Dujarric on Monday while addressing the press.
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