Muslim world riled by BJP leaders’ scornful remarks on Prophet (PBUH)

PM Shehbaz says Modi trampling religious freedoms, persecuting Muslims

Picture source - Reuters

Muslim countries have taken strong exception to derogatory remarks made against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by leaders of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with Qatar and Kuwait summoning India’s envoy to register their protest.

Qatar has sought a public apology from India for allowing such “Islamophobic” views without retribution. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also called out the comments made by the BJP leader and urged the world to take notice and reprimand India. “… Have said it repeatedly that India under Modi is trampling religious freedoms & persecuting Muslims. World should take note & severely reprimand India.”

He said the love of Muslims for the Prophet (PBUH) was supreme and they could sacrifice their lives for the Holy figure. The Foreign Office also condemned in the strongest possible terms the highly derogatory remarks recently made by two senior officials of India’s ruling party BJP. “These totally unacceptable remarks have not only deeply hurt the sentiments of the people of Pakistan but of billions of Muslims around the world,” it said in a statement.

BJP’s attempted clarification and belated and perfunctory disciplinary action against these individuals cannot assuage the pain and anguish they have caused to the Muslim world, it said, adding that Muslims residing in India are equally outraged by the completely repugnant comments by the two BJP officials. The ensuing communal violence in Kanpur and in other parts of India bears testimony to this fact.

The Foreign Office said Pakistan is also deeply concerned at the alarming rise in communal violence and hatred directed against the Muslims in India. Muslims in India 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. Regrettably, the Indian state machinery has remained aloof to the desperate calls for assistance by the local Muslim communities across the country.

The continued grave violations of the rights of minorities in several BJP-ruled states; anti-Muslim legislations by the Union government of India and continued incidents of violence against Muslims on flimsy pretexts by various ‘Hindutva’ groups with complete impunity, and often under state patronage, highlights the worsening trend of Islamophobia and extremism in India. The silence of the top leadership of the BJP is yet another proof that these Hindu zealots have tacit support of the state machinery in carrying out their nefarious designs of marginalization and dehumanizing of the minorities, especially Muslims.

Reprehensibly, it has become a norm in India to deprive the Muslims of their right to live and freely practice their religion. It is deplorable that the BJP-RSS cohort, under extremist ‘Hindutva’ agenda, has maliciously denigrated and perpetrated senseless violence against Indian Muslims and their places of worship.

According to Hindustan Times, BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and another party leader, Naveen Kumar Jindal, made disrespectful remarks about the Prophet (PBUH) and after worldwide condemnation of these remarks, India’s ruling party had to distance itself from their statements, announcing disciplinary action against the duo.

Qatar summoned the Indian envoy and handed him an official note that expressed Qatar’s disappointment and “its total rejection and condemnation [of] the controversial remarks made by an official in the ruling party in India against Prophet Mohammed … Islam and Muslims,” according to a statement issued by its foreign ministry. Qatar said “it is expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the Government of India.”

It noted that allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment constituted a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalisation, which will create a cycle of violence and hate. The grand mufti of Oman, Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Khalil, tweeted that the “obscene” comments of the spokesperson of India’s ruling party amounted to a “war against every Muslim”. Following a strong reaction from the Muslim countries, the ruling BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal from the party for their remarks, according to Hindustan Times.

The statement issued by the party did not name anyone but it underlined that the party did not condone insults to any religion and respects all faiths. “The Bharatiya Janata Party is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy…During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions,” the statement said.