Asia, Muslims take to the streets against a BJP minister: she offended Muhammad
Triggering the controversy are allegations of pedophilia by Nupur Sharma, spokeswoman for India's ruling party. In a TV debate she recalled the young age of the prophet's last bride, only 9 years old at the time of the wedding. The wave of anger at the end of Friday prayer with demonstrations in Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India itself.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Muslims from several Asian nations took to the streets yesterday at the conclusion of Friday prayers, promoting massive demonstrations in protest against words deemed offensive and blasphemous by a senior official of the ruling party in India (BJP) against Muhammad.
From Bangladesh (pictured, Dhaka) to Indonesia, worshippers have voiced their ire over phrases deemed "inflammatory" commenting on the relationship that united Islam's prophet with his younger wife. The controversy flared up last week during a TV debate when Nupur Sharma, spokesman for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party, insinuated that the prophet of Islam was a "pedophile" because he married-and consummated the nuptials-with Aisha when she was only nine years old.
Since the TV broadcast, the protest has spread to 20 Islamic countries, including Gulf nations, with Delhi being forced to call in ambassadors while the party announced the suspension of its official, insisting on "respect" for all religions. Nevertheless, yesterday's were the largest demonstrations with at least 100,000 people mobilized in Bangladesh alone at the end of the prayer.
"We are here to protest against the insult addressed to our prophet by a member of the Indian government," said Amanullah Aman, a demonstrator in Dhaka. "We want," he added, "the death penalty" for blasphemers. Threats also came to Modi and all enemies of the Muslim faith. In Pakistan, members of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, an Islamic extremist movement, organized a march in Lahore paralyzing traffic. "The prophet of Islam," shouted teacher Irfan Rizvi, "is our red line. In India ... as elsewhere, the defenders of Islam will not remain silent" in the face of offenses. Demonstrations also took place in India, where there are more than 200 million Muslim worshippers, with a crowd gathering outside the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi.
In Kashmir, authorities cut off internet connectivity, imposed curfews and limits on prayer to avert further incidents. In a spontaneous protest mota, many merchants in Srinagar closed their businesses. In Indonesia, dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of the Indian Embassy in Jakarta. "The Indian government must apologize to Muslims and must take strict action against the politicians who made the remarks" blasphemous remarks, protest coordinator Ali Hasan told Afp.
The fear is that demonstrations and incidents of even brutal violence could occur, as happened to French teacher Samuel Paty who was beheaded in October 2020 by a Chechen refugee after showing satirical cartoons of Islam to the class in a lesson on freedom of speech. Images of the prophet are strictly forbidden in Islam.