Unwarranted, narrow-minded comments: MEA's critical response to OIC's statement
India slammed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday for its "unwarranted" comments on suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nupur Sharma's remarks on Prophet Muhammed in a TV news debate. Rejecting the OIC Secretariat's comments, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that it was "regrettable that OIC Secretariat has yet again chosen to make motivated, misleading and mischievous comments."
- The BJP on Sunday suspended Sharma and its Delhi unit's media in-charge, Naveen Kumar Jindal.
- It had also issued a statement clarifying its stand on the issue.
- According to a press release signed by the BJP's National General Secretary Arun Singh, "The BJP is strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP doesn't promote such people or philosophy."
"The Government of India categorically rejects OIC Secretariat's unwarranted and narrow-minded comments. The Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions," Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesperson of the MEA said. "The offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality were made by certain individuals. They do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India," his statement added.
The MEA lashed out at the OIC for its "communal approach" and asked it to "show due respect to all faiths and religions." It accused the body of the Islamic nations of pursuing a "divisive agenda" at the behest of vested interests. This comes a day after several Arab nations, including Qatar, Kuwait, and Iran, condemned Sharma's offensive remark against Prophet Muhammed.
The OIC has 57 member nations across four continents: Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Founded in 1969, it defines itself as "the collective voice of the Muslim world."
"During the thousands of years of the history of India, every religion has blossomed and flourished. The BJP respects all religions," the BJP stated. "India's Constitution gives the right to every citizen to practice any religion...and to honor and respect every religion," it said. "As India celebrates the 75th year of its independence, we are committed to making India a great country," it added.
During a recent TV debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque row, Sharma had said that because Muslims were insulting the Hindu faith by calling the unearthed Shivling a fountain, certain aspects in their religious scriptures may be mocked as well. She then made a mention of Prophet Muhammed's marriage, too. Her remarks sparked uproar and elicited responses from religious organizations and political parties.
For the unversed, a Shivling was found inside Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque complex. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, however, claimed it was part of the wuzukhana's fountain. The Supreme Court ordered authorities to protect it without hindering Muslims' access to namaz. The Varanasi court deferred till July 4 a hearing on the mosque committee's plea challenging the maintainability of the suit filed by the Hindu side.