Dr Vedapratap Vaidik
Protests, processions and stone pelting are continuing in India on the Prophet controversy. As part of punitive measures the state administration has pulled down the illegal structures of those engaged in vandalising public property. I feel, we need to learn from the conduct of our neighboring muslim majority country, Bangladesh.
Unlike many Islamic countries Bangladesh never uttered a word criticising India in this controversy. Talking to Indian journalists in Dhaka their Information Minister Dr. Hassan Mahmood reiterated that the Prophet-dispute was purely an internal issue of India and Bangladesh has nothing to do with that. He said that they unequivocally condemn any disrespect or insolence shown to the Prophet and they, as a nation, are happy that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has taken stringent action against its two spokespersons for their contentious remarks. Dr. Hassan also said that the Government of India deserves to be congratulated. The Bengladesh Minister stressed that Mahmood said that they never desired to instigate the people of Bangladesh on this issue (as some other Muslim countries are doing)!
The Minister also said that his government will strictly deal with those trying to disturb the law and order in Bangladesh on this issue. Many leaders opposed to Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League government have been trying to ferment trouble by inflaming religious sentiments, but they have not succeeded yet. Taking advantage of this controversy the opposition leaders in Bangladesh are trying to attack the Hasina Government, but the Administration is dealing with the situation with firm resolve.
Now the government of Kuwait has also started dealing firmly with those trying to create clutter on the controversy. Muslims from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi living in Kuwait were trying to stage public protest on the Prophet issue. The government of Kuwait has announced that any migrant citizen found indulging in disturbing activities will be deported forever. I am sure that almost all Islamic nations will show this determination to deal with those elements trying to ferment disorder. Yes, Pakistan can be an exception to this, because the ruling and opposition parties there can try to blame each other on this issue. They have also got the anti-India resolution passed in their Parliament. But Bangladesh was firm not to succumb to any sort of pressure in this issue.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) made every effort to drag the matter to the United Nations General Assembly, but nowadays its president is Abdulla Shahid of Maldives. Shahid did not even consider it worthy to heed to the demand of the Islamic organization. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his official statement, has adopted the same approach in this matter as that of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has set an example for all Islamic countries by adopting a sensible approach on this issue. Like the Iranian Foreign Minister, now Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momin is also coming to India soon.
*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.