Economy

As a Result of the Prophet’s remarks, Kuwaiti Supermarket has pulled Indian Products

As a row over a ruling party official’s remarks about the Prophet Mohammed grew on Monday, a Kuwaiti supermarket pulled Indian products from its shelves, and Iran became the latest Middle Eastern country to summon the Indian ambassador.

Workers at the Al-Ardiya Co-Operative Society store piled Indian tea and other items into trolleys in protest of “Islamophobic” comments.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other countries in the region, as well as Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, have all condemned comments made by a spokeswoman for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, which has since been suspended.

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

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

Muslims have reacted angrily to comments made by Bharatiya Janata Party spokeswoman Nupur Sharma about the prophet Mohammed’s relationship with his youngest wife.

Last week, Sharma’s comments during a televised debate were blamed for causing riots in an Indian state, prompting calls for her arrest.

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The remarks sparked outrage in Muslim countries around the world

Modi’s party, which has been accused of discriminating against the country’s Muslim minority, announced on Sunday that Sharma had been suspended for expressing “views contrary to the party’s position” and that it “respects all religions.”

Kuwaiti Supermarket
Kuwaiti Supermarket

On Twitter, Sharma explained that her remarks were in response to “insults” directed at the Hindu god Shiva.

“I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement if my words have caused anyone any discomfort or hurt religious feelings,” she said.

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‘Religious intolerance incitement’

As India’s Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu visited the gas-rich Gulf state on Sunday to boost trade, Qatar demanded an apology for the “Islamophobic” remarks.

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

The comments, according to Al-Azhar University, one of Islam’s most important institutions, are “true terrorism” that “could plunge the entire world into deadly crises and wars.”

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

Kuwaiti Supermarket
Kuwaiti Supermarket

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

After showing the cartoons to his class in a lesson on free speech, French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a Chechen refugee in October 2020. In Islam, images of the Prophet are strictly prohibited.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, an umbrella group for the Gulf’s six countries, “condemned, rejected, and denounced” the Indian official’s remarks.

Bahrain also applauded the BJP’s decision to suspend Sharma for “inciting religious hatred” and “provocation of Muslims’ feelings.”

According to Indian foreign ministry figures, Gulf countries are a major 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 produce from India and other countries, with Kuwait importing 95% of its food, according to the trade minister.

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

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