The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Friday appealed to all Islamic scholars and intellectuals “not to engage in televised debates whose sole purpose is to mock and offend Islam and Muslims.” The appeal comes amid protests in different parts of the country over comments made by the now-suspended BJP spokesman Nupur Sharma during a televised debate against the Prophet.
The AIMPLB statement said that instead of serving Islam, by participating in such debates, Muslims “become the cause of their own direct insult by involving Islam and Muslims.”
“The intention of these programs is not to reach a conclusion through constructive discourse, but to mock and defame Islam and Muslims. In order to gain some legitimacy, these TV stations need Muslim faces in their debates… If we boycott such programs and TV stations, not only will it negatively affect their TRP, but they will also not achieve the desired result through these debates,”the statement said.
AIMPLB spokesman Dr. SQR Ilyas said: “There are some TV channels that don’t have such debates to really understand an issue or come to a conclusion. They are carried out simply to polarize society at the community level. They mostly defame a certain community, religion and certain personalities – as in the Nupur Sharma debate. By insulting the Prophet, she had not only targeted Indian Muslims but Muslims around the world. The backlash from the international community was therefore inevitable and has tarnished India’s image internationally. We believe that participating in such discussions gives them (the TV channels and these debates) legitimacy, which we will no longer do.”
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Ilyas said the board has already commented on the Nupur Sharma controversy, saying that a mere suspension is not “sufficient action” by the BJP.
“Legal action should be taken against the responsible party figures. Legal action will be taken against demonstrators who protest their statements, but no legal action will be taken against those who made the offensive statements. We also raised the question of why there has been no statement or response from the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary on this issue. Why are they silent?” Ilyas asked.