International

We strongly encourage respect and tolerance for all religions: U.N. spokesperson


United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric. File photo

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric. File photo | Photo Credit: AP

Amid sharp reaction from several Muslim nations over remarks by BJP leaders, who have since been suspended from the party, against Prophet Mohammed, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that “we strongly encourage respect and tolerance for all religions.”

The spokesperson was responding to a question by a Pakistani journalist on the condemnation by several Muslim nations over remarks by BJP’s former national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal against the Prophet and the Secretary General’s response to it.

“I've seen stories. I haven't seen the remarks themselves, but I mean, regardless, I can tell you that we strongly encourage respect and tolerance for all religions,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said on Monday at the daily press briefing.

The BJP on Sunday suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal as the row over their remarks against the Prophet escalated with protests from many Muslim countries.

Amid demonstrations by Muslim groups and the sharp reaction from countries like Kuwait, Qatar and Iran, the BJP had issued a statement asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces insults of any religious personality.

Seeking to defuse a diplomatic row, spokespersons of the Indian Embassy in Qatar and Kuwait said on Sunday that the Ambassadors have "conveyed that the tweets do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. These are the views of fringe elements."

Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain and Afghanistan and the Maldives on Monday joined several Muslim nations to condemn the controversial remarks of BJP leaders against Prophet Mohammed, stressing the importance of respecting all religious beliefs.

India slams OIC

India on Monday, June 6, 2022, hit out at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after it condemned the derogatory comments made by two BJP leaders on Prophet Muhammed and Islam.

The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, said the OIC’s comments are “misleading and mischievous”. India’s strong response came while several countries, including India’s crucial Gulf partner, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and security partners Oman and Jordan condemned the remarks. The UAE urged India to foster “mutual coexistence”.

In a strongly worded response, Mr. Bagchi said the OIC should stop its “communal approach” and said “it is regrettable that the OIC Secretariat has yet again chosen to make motivated, misleading and mischievous comments. This only exposes its divisive agenda being pursued at the behest of vested interests.”

( With inputs from our Correspondent Kallol Bhattacherjee)


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Printable version | Jun 7, 2022 1:54:02 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/we-strongly-encourage-respect-and-tolerance-for-all-religions-un-spokesperson/article65502811.ece