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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora