Muslims in Asia Slam Indian BJP Officials’ Move to Insult Prophet (+Video)

Muslims in Asia Slam Indian BJP Officials’ Move to Insult Prophet (+Video)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Thousands of Muslims rallied in different parts of Iran, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in response to two officials from India's ruling party making insulting remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which has sparked a diplomatic reaction against New Delhi.

Protests were reported from various Indian cities, including capital New Delhi, on Friday as Muslims marched after the afternoon congregation prayers, raising slogans against the government and calling for the arrest of the members belonging to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to Al Jazeera.

Anger has been growing in India and Muslim-majority nations across the world since last week, when the two BJP officials – spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and Delhi media cell head Naveen Kumar Jindal – made the insulting comments.

The BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal, saying it denounces insults of religious figures. The right-wing party also asked its spokespersons to be “extremely cautious” on religious matters in primetime “debates” on Indian news channels.

Police in New Delhi on Thursday filed cases against the two BJP members and others – including a Muslim parliamentarian and journalist – for “inciting hatred” and other charges.

But India’s Muslims, who are facing a sharp rise in Islamophobia and attacks on them since Modi came to power in 2014, say those actions are not enough.

Several parts of Indian-administered Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority region, on Friday observed a spontaneous shutdown to protest the derogatory remarks.

Authorities in the disputed region suspended mobile internet services and deployed additional security forces in some areas as precautionary measures to quell popular protests.

“The issue is outraging for any Muslim in the world. The BJP has been peddling hate against Muslims but they must know that the insult to our prophet will not be tolerated,” Mehraj Ud Din, a shopkeeper in the main city of Srinagar told Al Jazeera.

Protests after the Friday prayers were also reported from several districts in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous with 204 million residents, more than 19 percent of them Muslims.

In Bangladesh, thousands of people protested outside Dhaka’s main mosque, Baitul Mukarram, after the Friday prayers, chanting slogans such as “Boycott Indian products” and “Hang those who insult our prophet”.

Anti-India sentiments in Bangladesh over the treatment of India’s Muslim minority have grown since Modi came to power in 2014.

Thousands of people also rallied in Pakistan on Thursday and briefly scuffled with police in Pakistan’s capital, urging Muslim countries to cut diplomatic ties with New Delhi over the insulting remarks. 

In Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi, dozens of people took to the streets, demanding the government shut down the high commission of India and a boycott of Indian products.

Demonstrators also burned India’s national flags and pictures of Modi and Sharma.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. Since they gained independence from British rule in 1947, the nuclear-armed nations have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, split between them but claimed by both in its entirety.

Also in Iran, a large gathering took place in Tehran on Friday evening in protest against India's ruling party’s insulting remarks.



The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Director General for South Asia on Sunday summoned the Indian ambassador to voice protest on behalf of Iran’s government and people. 

The Indian ambassador to Tehran expressed regret over the issue and described as unacceptable any affront to Islam’s Prophet.

The envoy said this is not the stance of the Indian government which has the utmost respect for all faiths.

Apart from Iran, Qatar and Kuwait have also summoned India's ambassadors and handed over to them protest notes on categorical "rejection and condemnation" of the controversial remarks of the BJP members. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who has traveled to India on an official visit, said Muslim scholars have played a historical role in India and its Muslim community has played a major share in the progress and development of the South Asian country.

Amirabdollahian, while hearing the opinions, proposals and assessments of the Muslim scholars, underlined the necessity of a more accurate knowledge and understanding of plots and threats, maintenance of unity, coexistence and respect for followers of other faiths and increased readiness to counter existing pressure and restrictions against Islam and Islamic values.

The foreign minister also underscored the unchangeable principles of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran including defense for the Islamic values and Islam’s dignity.

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