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Kuwait Supermarket Pulls Indian Products Off Shelves Over Prophet Remark

Kuwait

Workers at Al-Ardiya Co-Operative Society store In Kuwait City heaped Indian tea and other items into trolleys in protest over “Islamophobic” comments.

Kuwait City:  According to news agency AFP’s report, a Kuwaiti supermarket pulled Indian products from its shelves, as a storm developed on Monday over a BJP official’s remarks regarding the Prophet Mohammed, Iran became the latest Middle Eastern country to call the Indian ambassador to register the protest.

Workers at Al-Ardiya Co-Operative Society store In Kuwait City heaped Indian tea and other items into trolleys in protest over “Islamophobic” comments.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other countries in the region, as well as Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar University, have all condemned the remarks by a BJP spokesperson, who has subsequently been suspended.

Plastic sheets were used to cover sacks of rice and racks of spices and chilies at a supermarket just outside Kuwait City. “We have removed Indian products,” said a printed sign in Arabic.

“We, as a Kuwaiti Muslim people, do not accept insulting the Prophet,” the store’s CEO, Nasser Al-Mutairi, told AFP. A company-wide boycott was being considered, according to a chain representative.

Muslims have reacted angrily to comments made by Nupur Sharma, a spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Last week, Ms. Sharma’s comments during a televised discussion were blamed for causing riots in Uttar Pradesh, prompting calls for her arrest. The words sparked outrage in Muslim countries around the world.

Ms. Sharma was suspended by the BJP on Sunday for expressing “views contrary to the party’s position,” and the party stated that it “respects all religions.”

On Twitter, Ms. Sharma stated that her remarks were in response to “insults” directed toward the Hindu god Shiva. “If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement,” she said.

‘Incitement to religious hatred’

Qatar requested an apology from India, on Sunday, for the “Islamophobic” remarks made during Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to the gas-rich Gulf state to boost commerce.

Iran, like Qatar and Kuwait, called India’s ambassador to protest in the name of “the government and the people,” according to the state news agency IRNA.

The comments, according to Al-Azhar University, one of Islam’s most prominent institutions, were “the real terrorism” that “could plunge the entire world into deadly crisis and war.”

The Muslim World League, based in Saudi Arabia, warned the remarks could “incite hatred,” while the General Presidency of the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Saudi Arabia termed them a “heinous act.”

In 2020, Muslim leaders were outraged when French President Emmanuel Macron defended a satirical magazine’s freedom to publish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

After exposing the drawings to his pupils in a lesson on free speech, French teacher Samuel Paty was killed by a Chechen refugee in October 2020. In Islam, images of the Prophet are absolutely prohibited.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, an umbrella organization for the six Gulf countries, “condemned, rejected, and denounced” Ms. Sharma’s remarks.

Bahrain also praised the BJP’s move to ban Ms. Sharma for inciting religious intolerance; “provocation of Muslims’ feelings and incitement to religious hatred.”

According to foreign ministry estimates, the Gulf countries are a prominent destination for India’s overseas workers, accounting for 8.7 million out of a total of 13.5 million.

They are also major importers of products from India and other countries, with Kuwait buying 95% of its food, according to the trade ministry.

According to Kuwaiti media, the government requested an exemption from India’s unexpected restriction on wheat exports due to concerns about food security and inflation.

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