NEW DELHI: A section of activists and experts on Monday questioned the “silence” of Muslim nations over China’s treatment of minorities and alleged violation of human rights there after some of these countries lodged a protest with India against two BJP officials’ remarks about Prophet Mohammed.
The row over alleged derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad escalated on Sunday with protests from countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Iran, prompting the BJP to take action against its officials and claim that he respects all religions.
But after the backlash from Islamic countries, some wonder whether those nations will raise similar objections against China, which has been accused by numerous human rights groups of targeting Muslims and other minorities.
Beijing has denied these allegations.
Brahma Chellaney, Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research (CPR), said: “Some Muslim states that have remained silent in the face of China’s assault on Islam, including the incarceration of more than a million Muslims and the confiscation of the Korans, played the anti-Muslim remarks of two Indians now expelled from the ruling party.
“Is it because they perceive India as a soft state? Kasturi Shankar, an activist and lawyer, also took to Twitter echoing similar sentiments.
“The nations that claim to defend the feelings of the world’s two billion Muslims do nothing for the Muslims of Afghanistan, Syria, China or Burma.”
“We can’t do anything against ISIS, China or the Taliban, so let’s choose a single woman in a TV debate instead,” Shankar said.
Former Rajya Sabha MP and BJP member Balbir Punj took to Twitter saying, “The world knows how China treats its minorities, especially Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. China is violating all rights human rights and international conventions when dealing with Islam and Muslims in Xinjiang. None in the world even squeaks about it. Why? Why? (sic)”.
He alleged that Congress, Communists and “jihadists” were celebrating their “relentless campaign against fabricated intolerance against Modi and India which has worked so far”.
“We must work harder to expose the true character of this lot and neutralize them to save plural India,” he said.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Kuwait expressed their condemnation of the controversial remarks against the Prophet by former BJP spokesman Nupur Sharma and former Delhi media chief Naveen Kumar Jindal, and called for “respect for beliefs and religions”.
Indian ambassadors were summoned and handed over protest notes.
As the row escalated at home and abroad, the BJP on Sunday suspended Nupur Sharma and expelled Jindal.
Sharma’s comments, made during a TV debate nearly 10 days ago, and Jindal’s now-deleted tweets also sparked a Twitter trend calling for boycotts of Indian products in some countries.
“I condemn hate speech of any kind. I condemn hate speech by anyone. What stings me is selective outrage and double standards.”
The world must put humanity before religion,” Shankar said.
“Nupur Sharma was irrelevant. I can’t imagine the party had any choice but to expel him. That said, I don’t hear any of these countries condemning the Manchester massacre, Charlie Hebdo or the acts Islamic terrorists,” she said. in a series of tweets.
Divya Kumar Soti, a security affairs analyst and columnist, also raised the issue of Uyghurs and the restrictions imposed on Muslims by the Chinese regime.
“China sent millions of Uyghur Muslims to re-education camps, banned hijab and beards, restricted namaz and ramzan. Has an Arab country ever dared to summon a Chinese ambassador? Soty said.
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit also criticized Arab countries for their reaction.
“So Arab countries will now decide who should be a member of @BJP4India and what should be the basic principles on which the party should operate,” he tweeted.
Shankar said those who issue statements on behalf of all Muslims around the world “should logically also take responsibility for all crimes committed by all Muslims.”
Several other Twitter users echoed the same sentiments.
“Kuwait and Qatar have never cared about the actual torture of Uyghur Muslims by China. But a TV debate on an Indian channel where the opponent also insulted center-left-right Hindus shook them,” said Monica Verma .
Another user Vishwas Mehta tweeted, “As an Indian, I respect China on this because no Muslim country dares to say a word to the Chinese government for doing concentration camps, atrocities against Muslims .
They just make it look so simple and peaceful.”
Pakistan, which has often drawn the wrath of the treatment reserved for minorities on its soil, had also summoned the Indian charge d’affaires for the remarks of the two leaders of the BJP.