Why The Outrage Among World Muslims Continues Against Indian Government?

For representation purposes only.

Syed Khalique Ahmed

NEW DELHI—India enjoyed good relations with Muslim countries, particularly with the Arab-Muslim world. And this was because of India’s secularism, that is, equal treatment to all religions, and multi-culturalism that provided equal opportunity to followers of all faiths to freely practice their religion. There were occasions when Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), a conglomerate of 57 Muslim countries, snubbed Pakistan when the latter raised issues that went against India’s national interests.

Muslim countries did not speak up when Babri Masjid was razed to the ground by radical Hindus, or when the Supreme Court handed over the site of the Babri Masjid for construction of Ram Temple while acknowledging that the Babri Masjid was not constructed on the debris of any temple, and that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 was illegal and a criminal act. However, the Muslim world reacted strongly, and some Arab countries summoned Indian ambassadors in their respective countries and demanded an apology from the Government of India for the unprovoked and unsavoury comments about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Indian Muslims had made the same demand much earlier. But neither the BJP nor the central government paid any heed to Indian Muslim citizens who complained that Nupur Sharma had hurt their religious feelings by making insulting remarks against the Prophet without provocation during a television debate on the issue of Varansi’s Gyanvapi Masjid. 

However, BJP acted immediately after condemnation from the Muslim countries and suspended Nupur Sharma for six years from the party pending an inquiry and expelled Navin Jindal, another senior BJP functionary, from the party. 

Cold response by UAE head of state

The reaction of the Muslim countries may have been surprising for the ruling clique because the Muslim world had never in the past spoken about the atrocities on Indian Muslims during communal riots, demolition of the Babri Masjid or general discrimination against them in various matters. That perhaps could be the reason why the ruling party and its government never expected a global Muslim reaction on Nupur Sharma’s comment as well. It might be due to the lack of understanding on the part of BJP leaders, including its think tank, to know the difference between an insulting remark about the Prophet of Islam and the demolition of a mosque or an anti-Muslim riot. While destroying or vandalizing a mosque, communal riots or mob lynching of Muslims, or threatening mass massacre of Muslims, may be an internal affair of a country, attacking Islam and its Prophet (peace be upon him) cannot be considered an internal matter. It is no doubt an international issue. It is not an issue of Indian Muslims alone. By insulting the Prophet, the accused person did not hurt the feeling of Indian Muslims only. It caused pain to Muslims all over the world, the entire Muslim Ummah in cultural and religious sense. The Government of India, therefore, needs to understand the issue from this perspective and take an appropriate action in the matter accordingly.

Has the action taken against Nupur Sharma and Navin Jindal satisfied the Muslim nations? Senior journalist Hasan Kamal in his weekly column “Nuqta-e-Nazar” (Viewpoint) in July 13 edition of Urdu daily The Inquilab has commented that the anger of the Arab world has not subsided even now against the Indian government. In his lengthy article on the editorial page of the newspaper, he points out that the reason for the cold response to PM Narendra Modi during his unscheduled visit to the United Arab Emirates while returning from Germany recently was the simmering outrage over the Nupur Sharma issue.

Referring to his private sources without identifying them, Kamal Hasan says that Modi was stunned when he did not see any warmth in UAE ruler Sheikh Zaid bin Nahyan who was at the airport to receive him. After realizing this from the body language of the UAE head of state, Modi walked towards Sheikh Zaid by stretching out both hands but no such expression of greeting was visible nor perceptible from the conduct of Sheiokh Zaid. Absence of warmth or friendliness during the incident, according to Hasan Kamal, was neither shown on Indian TV channels nor discussed by Indian media. The Indian media suppressed the episode as if nothing happened with Modi or PM did not visit Abu Dhabi at all.

Kamal Hasan says that sensing the alleged indifferent response from the UAE ruler, Modi abstained from uttering anything that could have been a topic of discussion for the media in India and the UAE.

Surge in anger against the Government of India

If Hasan Kamal is believed, the anger of world Muslims has surged against the Government of India after arrest of Alt News co-founder Muhammad Zubair and allowing Nupur Sharma to go scot-free even after the comments by a Supreme Court bench holding Nupur responsible for the violence after her remarks. Zubair had only tweeted the remarks of Nupur Sharma. According to media reports, Indian envoys in foreign capitals have been directed to convince the governments abroad that what Nupur Sharma has remarked is not the stand of the Government of India. But the absence of action by the government against Nupur under existing Indian laws does not seem to be sending an appropriate message to the world community, and perhaps, this is responsible for the cold reception by the UAE head of state.

While Nupur Sharma episode is the immediate provocation for the world Muslim community to react against India, the fact is that a series of developments in the last eight years against minority communities, particularly Muslims and Christians, has hit the image of India abroad. United Nations has also condemned the arrest of Muhammad Zubair and sought his immediate release.


  1. I don’t know about Muhammad Zubair and his contributions to Indian Society, since I had not heard about him earlier. If you have referred to him, he must have worked for harmony in our society. Hasan Kamal of The Inquilab is no well wisher.
    India need not worry itself about the Sheikhs, Kings or radicals in West Asia. They have done nothing for the poor in their own countries. They have wantonly wasted wealth of their countries in luxurious living or in casinos of the west. Are they ever going to be well- wishers of the poor or needy in India?
    Let us focus on our progress.
    Akshay Aggarwal, Canada


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