News / Asia

Anti-Islam Film Protest Muted Among India's Muslims

Activists of Kashmir's right wing all-woman organisation Dukhtaran-E-Milat (Daughters of the Faith) shout anti-US slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Sept. 21, 2012
Activists of Kashmir's right wing all-woman organisation Dukhtaran-E-Milat (Daughters of the Faith) shout anti-US slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Sept. 21, 2012
Anjana Pasricha
In India, calls from Muslim leaders for restraint and a swift government ban on a controversial anti-Islam film have ensured that protests against the film have been sporadic. India has the world’s third largest Muslim population.

The condemnation of the anti-Islam film by Muslim religious and political leaders in India has been strong and unequivocal. But the message to the community has been simple: do not resort to violence.
 
Asaduddin Owaisi is a member of parliament in Hyderabad, a southern Indian city with a large Muslim population. He also heads a Muslim party, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.  

“We have told the community, we have requested them that, yes, all of us are pained and hurt, but the best way of showing our pain and anger is not to allow our emotions to take over. Fortunately the people at large have understood the message given by our ulemas, our scholars, our political leaders," said Owaisi.
 
In the last week protests have erupted in the southern Indian city of Chennai, and in Muslim-majority Kashmir. In Chennai, protestors smashed security cameras in the U.S. Consulate. In Kashmir’s main town, Srinagar, stone-throwing demonstrators clashed with police. But the backlash against the film has been relatively tame compared to other countries.  
 
Muslim leaders in India give some of the credit to the government's quick reaction to the anti-Islam film, which insults the Prophet Muhammad. Access to the video was blocked in India by Google under laws which prohibit the circulation of “offensive material." The Indian government also said it strongly condemns all acts that disparage religious beliefs and hurt religious sentiments.
 
India is a secular democracy, but the country's past experience with communal violence has made leaders more cautious about material which may offend religious feelings. In 1988, the publication of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, triggered violent protests and prompted a ban. Earlier this year, Muslim groups opposed Rushdie’s visit to India to attend a literary festival.
 
But while reaction to the anti-Islam film may have been muted, some analysts say anti-American sentiment has deepened among Indian Muslims.
 
"Anger, anguish, hate, everything is burning… these things cannot be removed," said Manzoor Alam, chairman of Institute of Objective Studies in New Delhi. "Now this hate is penetrating in the minds of the Muslims against America also. Reason is that by saying simply that some individual has done under freedom of expression, nobody is believing this word because freedom of expression is hurting billions of Muslims."
 
Owaisi hopes that a French magazine's publication this week of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad will not mean an end to the restraint seen thus far. The government is likely to block access to the cartoons.
 
Still many are hoping that calm will prevail in this Hindu-majority nation, where Muslims make up the largest religious minority with 140 million.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid