Iran summons Indian envoy over insult against Prophet Muhammad

June 6, 2022 - 21:36

TEHRAN - The Indian ambassador has been summoned by Iran's Foreign Ministry in protest over a television debate in which sacrilegious words were made about Islam's Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), eliciting considerable criticism throughout the Muslim world.

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry website, the director general of the South Asia Department summoned the Indian envoy on Sunday to convoy the Iranian government's and people's strong opposition to the sacrilegious insults made against the Prophet Muhammad.

For his part, the Indian ambassador expressed remorse, stating that any desecration against the Prophet of Islam is intolerable.

The envoy further underlined that the remarks made by two governing party leaders did not reflect the Indian government's viewpoint, which he stated respects all religions.

Nupur Sharma, the spokesperson for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made harsh remarks about the Prophet of Islam during a recent TV news debate, which drew considerable condemnation across the country and prompted violent confrontations in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, on Friday.

Sharma was suspended from the BJP on Sunday, although the party distanced itself from her nasty statements.

After a tweet was written to insult the Prophet but afterwards was deleted, the party dismissed Naveen Kumar Jindal, the party's Delhi media director. Jindal's opinions on social media, according to the BJP, weaken communal unity and go against the party's basic values.

“During the thousands of years of the history of India, every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions. The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion,” the BJP said in a statement earlier in the day.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party is also strongly against any ideology, which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy,” it added.

Sharma apologized for her comments in a tweet on Sunday, stating, “I take back my words if they have hurt anyone's religious sentiments.”

In various Muslim nations, including Pakistan, Qatar, and Kuwait, Sharma's remarks have sparked uproar.

Pakistan condemned the very insulting statements in the "strongest possible terms," according to a statement.

"Pakistan once again calls on the international community to take immediate cognizance of the grievously aggravating situation of Islamophobia in India," it pointed out.

Kuwait summoned the Indian ambassador, noting to have delivered him a protest note rejecting and denouncing the BJP official's views.

In a statement, Qatar's Foreign Ministry said it appreciated the (BJP) party's decision to suspend the official, but that it expected a public apology and prompt denunciation of the Indian government's statements.

On the second day of a high-profile visit by India's Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Indian business leaders, Deepak Mittal, the Indian ambassador in Doha, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.

According to the foreign ministry statement, the ambassador was given an official complaint letter that stated, "Qatar is expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the government of India."

"Allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights" and "will create a cycle of violence and hate", it underlined.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also criticized the sacrilegious remarks, stating that they were made in the "context of intensifying hatred and abuse towards Islam in India and systematic practices against Muslims."

The Ansarullah movement in Yemen also lambasted the BJP spokesperson's disrespectful words against Prophet Muhammad, calling them "moral bankruptcy" on those who made them.

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