India takes steps to quell domestic and Middle Eastern outrage over Prophet Muhammad’s comments

India’s government on Monday sought to calm anger at home and abroad after two officials from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, with 38 people arrested for rioting in a city in the north and a protest planned later in Mumbai.

The arrests in the town of Kanpur were part of an effort to ease sporadic religious tensions that arose after two officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP made remarks that sparked widespread anger among Muslims in India and abroad.

Some of India’s top officials were engaged in dealing with the diplomatic fallout as countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran demanded government apologies for allowing the derogatory remarks, an Indian Foreign Ministry official said.

Over the weekend, Indian diplomats stationed in the Gulf and neighboring Islamic countries were summoned by officials in those countries to protest comments by BJP officials.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in a statement, said: “These slurs come against the backdrop of the growing intensity of hatred and slurs against Islam in India and the systematic harassment of Muslims. “.

The influential 57-member body cited the latest decision to ban the hijab in educational institutions in several Indian states and the destruction of Muslim property to highlight what it called Indian government bias.

The Pakistan Armed Forces in a tweet “strongly condemn the blasphemous remarks” by Indian officials.

“This outrageous act is deeply hurtful and clearly indicates an extreme level of hatred against Muslims and other religions in India,” he said.

India’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the offensive tweets and comments in no way reflect the views of the government.

Protests planned in Mumbai

The BJP suspended a spokesperson and expelled another official on Sunday for hurting the religious sentiments of a minority community.

Muslims make up about 13% of India’s 1.35 billion people. Demonstrations were planned for Monday against anti-Muslim remarks in the financial capital Mumbai.

Johnson and Modi stand side by side, looking towards the camera.  They both have their palms together in applause
The offensive comments come at a time when Narendra Modi has boosted economic ties with energy-rich Gulf countries. (Reuters: Ben Stansall)

The US State Department, in its annual report to Congress on international religious freedom released in June, alleged that attacks on members of minority communities, including murder, assault and intimidation, have taken place in India. throughout 2021.

Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam and home to its two holiest sites, has welcomed the BJP’s move to suspend the spokesperson from her job.

A senior official at the Qatar Embassy in New Delhi said the Modi government should publicly distance itself from the comments.

“Hurting our religious feelings can have a direct impact on economic ties,” the official said, adding that they were checking reports of boycotts of Indian products by some supermarket owners in Qatar.

India’s trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, was worth around $90 billion (125 billion) in 2020-21. Millions of Indians live and work in GCC countries.

In recent years, Prime Minister Modi has strengthened economic ties with energy-rich countries, the country’s main source of fuel imports.

Reuters

Job , updated

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