Middle East countries angry at India's BJP Islamophobic remarks
Muslim countries are holding the Indian government accountable for its racism against Muslims.
The Indian government is entangled in a row with Gulf states when two Hindutva spokespeople from Narendra Modi's BJP made Islamophobic and derogatory remarks, insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
After the remarks went viral in the Middle East, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suspended its national spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, and the media head of New Delhi, Naveen Kumar Jindal.
The governments of Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Afghanistan, and Pakistan denounced the remarks as "insulting."
Sharma, commenting about Muslim worship and the Holy Prophet, made insulting comments in a debate with a Muslim opponent on television 10 days ago. After the comments were met with anger, Jindal added to the insults about the prophet, which caused further outrage.
Deepak Mittal, the Indian ambassador to Qatar, was summoned and given a note “expressing the disappointment of the State of Qatar and its total rejection and condemnation to the controversial remarks made by an official in the ruling party in India against Prophet Muhammad.”
Doha demanded that the Indian government apologize, accusing New Delhi of provoking “a cycle of violence and hate.” Qatar's foreign minister, Lolwah Al-Khater, said that India is reaching "dangerous levels" of Islamophobic discourse.
Kuwait, furthermore, has also summoned its Indian ambassador, Sibi George, in an expression of “categorical rejection and condemnation of the insulting statements” made by the BJP spokespeople.
Oman's grand mufti, Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Khalili, condemned the statements on Indian television, calling them "insolent and obscene rudeness," and describing the BJP as an "extremist party."
Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan's new prime minister, has recently sent conciliatory messages to Modi, saying the comments were an example of how “India under Modi is trampling religious freedoms and persecuting Muslims”.
As if the diplomatic turmoil wasn't enough, calls to boycott Indian goods were also on the rise in the Gulf region. The Gulf region is an essential trading partner for India.
The BJP, in turn, tried to brush off the comments, dismissing them as "fringe elements" in the BJP, and that they "do not, in any manner, reflect the views" of the Indian government.
However, the Indian government, since right-wing Hindutva Modi came to power, has been oppressing and cracking down on Muslim populations in India and Kashmir.