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
TEXT SIZE - +
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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid