Indonesia and Malaysia have joined the countries criticising India for not taking action against Nupur Sharma, who commented on Prophet Mohammed in a TV debate earlier this month.
Indonesia and Malaysia summoned India’s envoys in their countries over “derogatory” remarks made about the Prophet Mohammed by two BJP politicians, their foreign ministries said Tuesday.
It comes as anger spreads across the Arab and Muslim world, with various Middle Eastern nations summoning New Delhi’s envoys and a Kuwaiti supermarket removing Indian products.
Remarks by a former spokeswoman for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who has since been suspended, sparked the uproar. BJP suspended Sharma after Gulf nations, including Qatar and Saudi Arab, condemned India and demanded action. The party’s media chief for Delhi posted a tweet last week about the Prophet that was later deleted.
Indonesian foreign ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah told news agency AFP that India’s ambassador in Jakarta, Manoj Kumar Bharti, was summoned on Monday, with the government lodging a complaint about anti-Muslim rhetoric.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the ministry said Indonesia — the most populous Muslim-majority country — “strongly condemns unacceptable derogatory remarks” made by “two Indian politicians” against the Prophet Mohammed.
Malaysia also “unreservedly condemns the derogatory remarks” by the Indian politicians, its foreign ministry said in a statement late Tuesday, adding that it had conveyed its “total repudiation” to India’s envoy.
“Malaysia calls upon India to work together in ending the Islamophobia and cease any provocative acts in the interest of peace and stability,” it said.
Nupur Sharma retracted her statement later and offered an apology. However, she justified her comments by claiming that they were in response to “the continuous insult and disrespect towards the Hindu god Shiva”.
“I have been attending TV debates for the past many days where our Mahadev was being insulted and disrespected continuously. It was mockingly being said that it is not Shivling but a fountain. The Shivling was also being ridiculed by comparing it to roadside signs and poles in Delhi,” Ms Sharma tweeted.
“I could not tolerate this continuous insult and disrespect towards our Mahadev, and I said some things in response to it. If my words have caused discomfort or hurt the religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement. It was never my intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings,” she added.