This video commentary addresses the controversy emerging from Ms. Nupur Sharma’s insulting and derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on national television. Until recently when she was suspended after the Muslims nations protested, she was a national spokesperson for the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Muslims of India were hurt and upset by her remarks and there were protests and police complaints filed in many parts of India. But neither Ms. Sharma nor her party addressed Muslim grievances. She maintained that not only was she right but that she was receiving death threats.
A week later gulf nations led by Qatar, Oman, Iran, and Saudi Arabia registered their official protests through diplomatic channels. Qatar even demanded an apology from India. In response to international uproar the BJP suspended her and expelled her ally Mr. Jindal from the party.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs labelled her as a fringe element and declared her statements as antithetical to India’s values and culture of religious amity. This Khanversation addresses four questions that stem from this affair:
1. What does the controversy say about the Indian government’s attitude towards Muslims?
2. What does this mean for India’s relations with the Gulf states and the Muslim world at large.
3. Why is India buckling to demands from the Gulf states and routinely shrugs and dismisses criticism from the US?
4. What does this mean going forward?
Dr. Muqtedar Khan is a professor at the University of Delaware and host of the YouTube show Khanversations. He is the author of the award-winning book Islam and Good Governance: Political Philosophy of Ihsan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He Tweets @MuqtedarKhan.