Muslim nations call for apology after Indian officials 'insult Prophet Muhammad'

Remarks made by Indian government officials were deemed "blasphemous"

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Members of the ruling party in India have sparked outrage after remarks about the Prophet Muhammad were deemed "blasphemous" by critics.

The remarks were made by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The comments have since sparked riots across India, with multiple arrests reported.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have previously condemned Narendra Modi's ruling party for promoting hate speech against Muslims, who currently make up 14 percent of India's 1.4 billion population.

Top government officials were summoned to manage the diplomatic fallout as nations including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran as the comments were deemed derogatory, an Indian foreign ministry official said.

Indian diplomats stationed in Islamic nations were rallied by officials in host countries to protest against the comments by BJP officials.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi denies claims his party is anti-Muslim
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi denies claims his party is anti-Muslim
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

In a statement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said: "These insults come in the context of the increasing intensity in hatred of and insults to Islam in India and the systematic harassment of Muslims."

Pakistan's Armed Forces "strongly condemn blasphemous remarks" by Indian officials, a post on Twitter read.

In a statement India's foreign ministry insisted the offensive tweets and comments did not, in any way, reflect the views of the government.

The ruling party said on Sunday it has suspended a spokesperson and expelled another official for hurting religious sentiments of a minority community.

Saudi Arabia, home of two of the holiest sites for Muslims, welcomed action taken by the BJP following the comments.

A senior official at the Qatar Embassy in New Delhi stated how Modi's government must publicly distance itself from the comments.

"Hurting our religious sentiments can directly impact economic ties," the official said, adding that they were monitoring reports about boycotts of Indian produce by some supermarket owners in Qatar.

India's trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, reached $90billion in 2020-21.

Millions of Indians live and work in GCC countries.