Be it writing on social media, or appearing on television channels on public debates; the persons exercising their free speech rights have a duty to observe civility and courtesy, and not to fan hatred between different classes of people, nor spread bigotry among religious communities, especially so when they are leading politicians and spokespersons of a party ruling a country. When political elites fail to observe restraint and cross the red-lines in public discourse on people’s beliefs, or faith-related controversies; it invariably generates public resistance and political backlash, muddying the social relations- nationally and internationally.
Recently, two leaders of the ruling BJP in India, Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, indulged in wanton anti-Muslim tirade, in public television and on social media. In their visceral hatred of the Muslim community in the country, these ruling politicians went to the extreme extend of attacking and vilifying the religion of Islam, and insulting the sacred memory of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his family. Making hurtful comments about the Holy Prophet’s life with his young wife Hazrat Ayesha (ra), these thugs from the majority community in the land sought to humiliate the minority community by insulting their religious beliefs. With the Muslims in India holding angry public demonstrations against the culprits, and many Muslim majority-nations in unison calling out the Islamophobia on full display in India, the episode involving the gross misconduct of its spokespersons embarrassed not only the governing party but also caused deep humiliation for the country’s image and standing internationally. [Inset: People hold posters during a protest demanding the arrest of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and expelled BJP leader Naveen Jindal. Credit: Reuters photo/ Deccan Herald/ PTI, June 10, 2022].