New Delhi/Tehran: Weeks ahead of its Foreign Minister's India visit, Tehran has summoned the Indian envoy to its Foreign Ministry over the comments of now expelled and suspended BJP leaders on Prophet Mohammad.
Prior to Iran, Qatar and Kuwait had also summoned Ambassadors of India and handed over them protest notes.
Qatar welcomes the suspensions
The Indian Embassy in Qatar had already issued a statement, saying that the "Ambassador had a meeting in the Foreign Office in which concerns were raised with regard to some offensive tweets by individuals in India denigrating the religious personality. Ambassador conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements".
The Qatar government, in a statement, said: "State of Qatar welcomed the statement issued by the ruling party in India in which it announced the suspension of the party's official from practicing his activities in the party due to his remarks that angered all Muslims around the world."
Noting that Qatar is expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks by the Indian government of India, it pointed out "that allowing such Islamophobic remarks to continue without punishment, constitutes a grave danger to the protection of human rights and may lead to further prejudice and marginalisation, which will create a cycle of violence and hate".
A senior official at the Qatar Embassy in New Delhi said Modi's government must publicly distance itself from the comments.
"Hurting our religious sentiments can directly impact economic ties," the official said, adding they were checking reports about boycott of Indian goods by some supermarket owners in Qatar.
Meanwhile, the Kuwait Foreign Ministry said that the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait was on Sunday summoned and handed over an official protest note by the Assistant Secretary of State for Asia Affairs expressing kuwait's "categorical rejection and condemnation" of the statements issued by an official of the ruling party against the Prophet.
The ministry welcomed the statement issued by the ruling party in India, in which it announced the suspension of the leader.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home of its two holiest sites, welcomed the action taken by the BJP to suspend the spokeswoman from work.
OIC points out harassment of Muslims
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in a statement, said: "These insults come in the context of the increasing intensity in hatred of and insults to Islam in India and the systematic harassment of Muslims."
The influential 57-member body cited the latest decision to ban the hijab at educational institutions in several Indian states and the destruction of Muslim property to highlight what it said was the Indian government's bias.
The U.S. State Department in its annual report to the Congress on international religious freedom released in June, alleged that attacks on members of minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, took place in India throughout 2021.
India's trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, stood around $90 billion in 2020-21. Millions of Indians live and work in GCC countries.
Prime Minister Modi in recent years is said to have tried to strengthened economic ties with the energy-rich nations, the top source for country's fuel imports.
Arrests in Kanpur
Meanwhile in Kanpur, 38 people were arrested for rioting in a northern city and a protest planned later in Mumbai.
Muslims make up around 13% of India's 1.35 billion people. Protests were planned against the anti-Muslim remarks in the financial capital Mumbai on Monday.
Earlier in New Delhi, the BJP had suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their controversial remarks against the Prophet, seeking to defuse a row over the issue.
Amid protests by Muslim groups over the remarks, the party also issued a statement aimed at assuaging the concerns of minorities and distancing itself from these members, asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces the insult of any religious personality.
The controversial remarks also sparked a Twitter trend in the Arab world calling for a boycott of Indian products.
(With inputs from IANS, Reuters and PTI)