West Asian Countries Summon Indian Envoys Over BJP's Comments On Prophet Amid International Outrage

The Indian government said the comments 'do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements'.

West Asian Countries Summon Indian Envoys Over BJP's Comments On Prophet Amid International Outrage

The governments of Qatar and Kuwait on Sunday sommoned Indian envoys to condemn comments by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries on Prophet Mohammed and to convey their expectation of a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the Government of India.

Iran's foreign ministry also summoned the Indian ambassador there to protest against "insult against Prophet of Islam in an Indian TV show", according to Iranian media reports on Sunday night.

The BJP suspended Nupur Sharma earlier on Sunday and expelled another functionary Naveen Kumar Jindal amid outrage in India and abroad over their comments on Prophet Mohammed. The outrage abroad has extended to calls for a boycott of Indian products. 

"A wave of anger in Arab countries, rejecting a tweet offensive to the Holy Prophet published by a prominent politician close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and calls for a boycott," reported Al Jazeera Arabic.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal told Qatar's foreign ministry that comments of Sharma and others "do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements".

The MEA statement added, "Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks. A statement has also been issued by concerned quarters emphasizing respect for all religions, denouncing insult to any religious personality or demeaning any religion or sect."

The Qatar's foreign ministry's statement acknowledged this. It said, "The State of Qatar welcomed the statement issued by the ruling party in India in which it announced the suspension of the party's official from practicing his activities in the party due to his remarks that angered all Muslims around the world."

However, the Qatar's government conveyed it expects a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the Government of India. It also said that allowign such statements would have worldwide consequences.

It said, "Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalization, which will create a cycle of violence and hate.

"The State of Qatar affirmed that these insulting remakes would lead to incitement of religious hatred, and offend more than two billion Muslims around the world, and indicate the clear ignorance of the pivotal role that Islam has played in the development of civilizations around the world, including in India."

Kuwait's foreign ministry said the continuation of such comments would constitute to increasing exttremism and hatred. 

"It demands a public apology for those hostile statements, the continuation of which without deterrence or punishment will constitute to Increasing aspects of extremism and hatred and undermining elements of moderation, noting that issuing such statements reflects a clear ignorance of the message of peace and tolerance of our Islamic religion, and the great role Islam has played in building civilizations in all countries of the world, including India," said Kuwait's foreign ministry, as per a Google translation of their statement. 

Lolwah Alkhater, the The Assistant Foreign Minister of Qatar, said "Islamophobic discourse has reached dangerous levels" in India and repeated the call for official condemnation, whose absence she said would be a wordwide insult to Muslims.

She said, "The Islamophobic discourse has reached dangerous levels in a country [India] 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 the 2 billion Muslims."

India's Ambassador to Iran Gaddam Dharmendra told Iranian Foreign Ministry's Director-General for South Asia that he "refrets" the comments on Prophet Mohammed and these comments do not reflect the position of the Government of India, according to Iran International news channel.

Incidentally, the exceptional reaction from Qatar came as Indian Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu is in the country on the last leg of his three-nation foreign visit in which he also visited Senegal and Gabon. Iran's summon to the Indian envoy came at a time when Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian is believed to make his first-ever visit to New Delhi in the upcoming week.

Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of the Oman also called for Muslims worldwide to unite against comments by Sharma and Jindal.

"The insolent and obscene rudeness of the official spokesman for the ruling extremist party in India against the Messenger of Islam, peace be upon him, and his pure wife, Mother of the Believers Aisha, may God be pleased with her, is a war against every Muslim in the east and west of the earth, and it is a matter that calls for all Muslims to rise as one nation," said The Grand Mufti, the highest Islamic religious authority in Oman, as per a Google Translation of his tweet. 


There have also been reports of Indian products being taken off shelves in markets in Arab countries. Posts against Prime Minister Narendra Modi are also topping social media trends in the region, as per reports.

It has been said in India that international pressure triggered the BJP's response against Sharma and Jindal and their statement on respect to all religions earlier on Sunday.

National Conference Vice President and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minsiter Omar Abdullah said, "There is a context to the BJP suddenly waking up to denounce 'insult to any religious personalities of any religion' and it has nothing to do with having offended the sentiments of lakhs of Muslims in India. This apology of a statement is aimed at an international audience."