Qatar’s foreign ministry has summoned India’s envoy to Doha after comments deemed to be offensive to Muslims were made by a top BJP official.
In a statement, authorities in Doha said it rejected comments made by the official against the Prophet Muhammad, calling in envoy Deepak Mittal to deliver a letter of condemnation.
“The State of Qatar affirmed that these insulting remakes would lead to incitement of religious hatred, and offend more than two billion Muslims around the world, and indicate the clear ignorance of the pivotal role that Islam has played in the development of civilizations around the world, including in India” said MOFA.
Doha also clarified it expects a “public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the Government of India, pointing out that allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalisation, which will create a cycle of violence and hate.”
Doha renewed its support for the values of tolerance, coexistence, and respect for all religions and nationalities.
“These values characterise Qatar’s global friendships and its tireless work to contribute to the consolidation of international peace and security,” added MOFA.
This comes as #الا ـ رسول ـ الله ـ يا ـ مودي (#AnyoneButTheProphetOModi) has taken social media by storm, securing as the number one trend on Twitter in Qatar and neighbouring Arab states.
The hashtag came as a response to offensive tweets by an Indian politician who took aim at the Prophet Muhammad, prompting calls for a boycott.
The latest developments also come as India‘s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu kicked off a four-day visit to Qatar with a high-level delegation as part of a three-nation tour that also includes Senegal and Gabon.
During his visit, Niadu is expected to meet with Qatar’s Shura Council speaker on Sunday.
In a statement to Doha News, the Indian embassy in Doha said the “ambassador conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India,” during a meeting at the Qatari foreign minister, describing the remarks are “views of fringe elements.”
“In line with our civilisational heritage and strong cultural traditions of unity in diversity, Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions.
“Strong action has already been taken against those who made the derogatory remarks,” the statement added.
‘Anyone but the prophet’
Users reacted with anger to a tweet posted by Navin Kumar Jindal the head of the media department from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi, and a prominent politician close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The tweet was about the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, with many saying it was an extension of Modi’s offensive Islamophobic policies.
Jaber Alharmi, a prominent Qatari journalist tweeted, “The official spokesman of the ruling party in #India Navin Kumar Jindal insults our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and our mother Aisha, in a dirty and obscene manner.. Our silence prompted this scum to offend our Prophet, our religion and our sanctities. If we do not defend our Prophet and our security, then there is no good in us.”
In an official statement to Doha News, the Indian Embassy in Qatar distance itself from Jindal.
“Comments of fringe elements does not represent views of the Government of India. He is neither an official of GOI nor represents views of the ruling Party. To the best of our information, even the party has strongly condemned the remarks and expelled him from the party,” the statement said.
The BJP party also issued a statement condemning the remarks made by Jindal.
“During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions. The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion.”
Several Indian cities and states have seen widespread systematic persecution of the Muslim minority in recent months, accompanied by violence from extremist Hindu militias.
For years, far-right Hindus have incited anti-muslim violence online, but it has only recently materialised in the streets.
Muslims account for roughly 13% of India’s population of 1.35 billion people.
The Indian population in Qatar exceeds 750,000, making up about 25% of Qatar’s overall population of 2,979,915.