International Furore Continues: Arab Parliament Slams BJP Spokespersons’ Remarks Against Prophet Muhammad
CAIRO, (IANS) – The Cairo-based Arab Parliament has strongly condemned and rejected the “irresponsible remarks” made by two former spokespersons of the ruling party in India against Prophet Muhammad.
In a statement issued on June 7, the Arab Parliament said that “such statements completely contradict the principle of tolerance and interfaith dialogue”, which “leads to a state of tension and hatred between religions”.
The legislative body of the Arab League also expressed surprise that “such statements are issued by political officials who are supposed to be more keen on spreading the values of moderation, tolerance and dialogue between religions and civilizations, and confronting extremist ideas that feed sedition and religious hatred”.
The Arab Parliament also called for the “necessity of realizing the great difference between freedom of expression and respect for the beliefs of others, stressing that it is not possible in any way to accept insulting religions and their sacred symbols under the pretext of freedom of opinion and expression”, the statement added.
Several Muslim nations, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Indonesia, and Iran, as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have officially protested their statements and demanded an apology.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly encourages respect for all religions, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has said.
“We strongly encourage respect and tolerance for all religions,” Dujarric said on June 6 responding to a Pakistan media reporter’s question about what he termed the “blasphemous” statements.
The spokesperson said: “We’ve seen stories, (but) I haven’t seen the remarks themselves.”
Nupur Sharma, who was a BJP spokesperson, has been suspended by the party’s leadership, and the party’s Delhi unit media head Naveen Jindal has been expelled.
Police in Mumbai, Thane and Hyderabad have registered cases against Sharma charging her with “hurting religious sentiments”.
They made the controversial statements during a TV debate.
The BJP dissociated itself from the two.