Saudi Arabia has condemned statements by the spokeswoman of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which constituted an insult to the Prophet Mohammed, the Foreign Ministry said last night.
The ministry expressed “its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), insulting the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, affirming its permanent refusal to touch the symbols of the Islamic religion, alongside all religious figures and symbols,” state news agency SPA reported.
The BJP suspended its spokeswoman Nupur Sharma over her comments.
The Saudi ministry welcomed BJP’s measures and reiterated the kingdom’s position calling for respecting all beliefs and religions.
The BJP said in a statement on its website that the party respected all religions. “The BJP strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities of any religion.”
Sharma said on Twitter she had said some things in response to comments made about a Hindu god but it was never an intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings.
“If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement,” she said.
Another BJP spokesman Naveen Jindal was expelled from the party over comments he made about Islam on social media, the BJP office said.
Jindal said on Twitter he had questioned some comments made against Hindu gods. “I only questioned them but that does not mean I am against any religion.”
The BJP statement also said: “The Bharatiya Janata Party is also strongly against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy.”
Sharma’s comments prompted complaints from several countries, including Kuwait, Qatar, Iran and Pakistan.
Kuwait summoned the Indian ambassador and said it had handed the ambassador a protest note in which Kuwait rejected and denounced the statements made by the BJP official.
Qatar’s foreign ministry statement also said it welcomed the (BJP) party’s decision to suspend the official but said Qatar was expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks by the Indian government.
It said in a statement it had summoned the Indian ambassador over the comments.
Oman’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalili tweeted against the BJP.
He said that the official spokesperson of the ruling party in India has made insolent and obscene remarks against the messenger of Islam.