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In response to criticism from the Islamic world over recent remarks, India rejected comments from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as “unwarranted and narrow-minded,” while also calling out Pakistan’s criticism as ironic given its own record with minorities. Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and the OIC issued statements against the remarks, prompting Pakistan to join three other Islamic countries in summoning the Indian envoy to express their displeasure. Bahrain also commented on the controversy but appreciated the action taken by the BJP against its two leaders.

While the Indian government chose not to publicly address these criticisms, it did respond to the comments made by the OIC. The Jeddah-based body of 57 countries strongly condemned the “abuse of the Prophet Muhammad” by officials of India’s ruling party. The OIC expressed strong condemnation of recent insults issued by an official in the ruling party within the context of escalating hatred and abuse of Islam in India.

In response to media queries about the OIC statement, an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson stated that the Indian government rejects the OIC Secretariat’s comments as unwarranted and narrow-minded. The spokesperson emphasized that the Indian government respects all religions and that the offensive tweets and comments made by certain individuals do not reflect the views of the government. The spokesperson also criticized the OIC Secretariat for making motivated and misleading comments, urging them to show respect to all faiths and religions.

Following criticism from Pakistani Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif, Pakistan summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires to convey their rejection and condemnation of derogatory remarks made by two senior officials of India’s ruling party about Prophet Muhammad. Pakistan expressed deep hurt over the remarks and deplored the disciplinary actions taken by the BJP government, along with highlighting the rise in communal violence against Muslims in India. Pakistan called on the international community to address rising Islamophobia in India and prevent human rights violations against minorities.

Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and the Taliban-ruled Afghan government also condemned the derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammad made by Indian officials, while Qatar and Kuwait demanded a public apology. Bahrain welcomed the suspension of the BJP spokeswoman and emphasized the importance of respecting all religious beliefs. The OIC called on Indian authorities to confront abuses against Muslims and ensure their safety and well-being, urging the international community to address practices targeting Muslims in India.

India has often criticized OIC responses as orchestrated by Pakistan, as seen in its recent response to the hijab controversy in Karnataka. The BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal in response to growing criticism from the Arab world, which led to calls for boycotts of Indian products in the Gulf region. India’s close partnerships in the region, along with its dependence on it for oil and gas needs, underscore the significance of the situation.

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