The controversy around former BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s alleged remarks on the Prophet does not seem to die down soon. The diplomatic offensive by the Arab world continues as the UAE, Jordan and Indonesia join the list of Islamic nations denunciation and condemning insults to the founder of Islam.
In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its ‘permanent rejection of prejudice against the symbols of the Islamic religion’. The ministry reaffirmed the Kingdom’s position calling for respect for beliefs and religions. It welcomed Indian government’s decision to suspend the spokesperson.
Read | Opposition demands Nupur Sharma, Naveen Jindal be arrested, calls BJP’s actions drama
UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) on Monday affirmed firm rejection of all practices and behaviours that contradict moral and human values and principles. UAE underscored the need to respect religious symbols and not violate them, as well as confront hate speech and violence.
Meanwhile, the Indian government tried to defuse the anger by Islamic countries, saying the offensive tweets and comments did not, in any way, reflect the views of the government. They went on to say that these were the views of ‘fringe elements’. One of the spokesperson has now been expelled from the party, whereas the other has been suspended.
10 updates on this big story
1. Countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, Iran, Jordan, Maldives, Afghanistan, Bahrain and Indonesia among others condemned the remarks by the spokesperson. They demanded an apology from the Indian government for allowing such derogatory remarks.
2. The Taliban-led Afghanistan also joined the chorus condemning the remarks made by two former spokespersons of BJP. In a tweet, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns the use of derogatory words against the Prophet of Islam by an official of the ruling party in India.”
3. Indonesia’s foreign ministry tweeted that a message condemning the ‘derogatory remarks’ by two Indian politicians had been conveyed to the Indian envoy in Jakarta.
4. On Sunday, envoys in the Gulf were summoned amid widespread calls on social media for a boycott of Indian goods in the Gulf.
5. A senior official at the Qatar Embassy in New Delhi said 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.
6. Bahrain welcomed the BJP’s decision to ‘suspend the party’s spokeswoman’ and stressed the need to ‘denounce any reprehensible insults’ against Prophet Mohammad, which amounted to an ‘incitement to religious hatred’.
7. The foreign ministry of Jordan issued a tweet condemning ‘in the strongest terms’ the insulting statements on the Prophet issued by the spokesperson of the BJP.
8. In a separate statement, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina on Monday condemned the “insulting statements” made by the spokesperson of the BJP against the Prophet.
9. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday brushed aside as ‘not important’ a public apology demanded by Qatar over the controversial remarks made by now-suspended and expelled BJP leaders, saying that people should pay attention to the Prime Minister and the RSS chief’s calls for strengthening India’s tradition of inclusiveness.
10. BJP on Sunday issued a statement and said that BJP is ‘strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion’ and ‘does not promote such people or philosophy’.