UAE raises voice against intolerance 
in India

It is time to rein in hate-mongers in India, a secular country that is home to 200 million Muslims


Published: Tue 7 Jun 2022, 1:18 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Jun 2022, 4:40 PM

The UAE’s condemnation of blasphemous comments by India’s ruling BJP members against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) should be a wake-up call that leads to a crackdown on intolerance and hate in the world’s largest democracy. An oasis of peace and coexistence that is home to over 200 nationalities, the UAE “rejects all practices and behaviours that contradict moral and human values and principles,” said the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The UAE believes it is a shared international responsibility to promote tolerance and coexistence between people. It practices what it preaches on communal and religious harmony and, therefore, has the moral weight to speak its mind and spell out its stance on the issue. The message is clear: It is time to rein in hate-mongers in India, a secular country that is home to 200 million Muslims who are an integral part of its culture, history, and heritage. Such incidents are unacceptable and, in a globalised world, could harm growing ties. It is also important to prevent any practice that sparks and fans religious hate between communities, said the UAE.

Such incidents are a blot on India’s secular ethos and hurt its growing stature in the world, more so among friends like the UAE where more than 3 million Indian expats reside. Other Gulf countries like Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia have also protested the comments made by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on a television channel. Sharma has since been suspended from the primary membership of the party. Another party member, Navin Jindal, was expelled for his blasphemous tweet on June 1 against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The twin incidents sparked violent demonstrations in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh while straining relationships with Gulf countries and the wider Muslim world. Indian missions in the GCC have since been in damage-control mode and have clarified that the persons responsible were ‘fringe elements’. The remarks were “views of fringe elements” and did not reflect the government’s opinion, said one embassy.

The Indian government said that the ruling party had taken action against the two members, a move that was welcomed by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. But India must heed the UAE’s advice and do more to prevent communal strife stoked by remarks from key members of the ruling party and the so-called fringe. It is important for the country to go back to its secular roots and promote peace among communities. There’s much to learn from the UAE which protects every religion and community under the law in the spirit of tolerance.

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