OIC is ‘Harming Its Own Reputation’: India Slams Islamic Bloc for Wading Into the Hijab Row

CC0 / / Muslim girl in veil
Muslim girl in veil  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2022
The OIC’s criticism of India came amid an ongoing row over a ban on hijabs (Islamic face veil) at pre-university educational institutions in BJP-governed Karnataka state. The hijab ban has led to protests by Muslim groups in several other parts of the country, as well as counter-protests by those who back the decision.
The Indian foreign ministry on Tuesday slammed the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after the group expressed “deep concern” over what it termed as a “growing trend of Islamophobia” in the South Asian nation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
“The communal mindset of the OIC Secretariat does not allow for a proper appreciation of these realities. OIC continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India”, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement, while responding to queries for a reaction to the grouping’s statement.

“As a result, it has only harmed its own reputation”, added the Indian official.

Bagchi also described the OIC’s criticism as “motivated and misleading”, as he underlined that the issues in the country are resolved in accordance “with our constitutional framework and mechanisms”.
Muslim students and members of Muslim Students Federation (MSF) protest against the recent hijab ban in few of Karnataka’s colleges, in New Delhi, India, February 8, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.02.2022
Hijab Row Turns Violent: Clashes, Stone Hurling Incidents Reported in India's Karnataka
The Jeddah-headquartered OIC describes itself as the "collective voice of the Muslim world". Primarily backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the OIC also has Pakistan among its members. The OIC has in the past been critical of India's human rights track record in the Jammu and Kashmir region, thus attracting strong criticism from New Delhi.
In its statement dated 14 February, the OIC urged international institutions such as the United Nations to take steps to check the alleged persecution of Muslims in India.

“The OIC General Secretariat further urges once again India to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of the Muslim community while protecting the way of life of its members and to bring the instigators and perpetrators of acts of violence and hate crimes against them to justice”, the statement said.

The ongoing hijab row in India also attracted criticism from Rashad Hussain, the US ambassador at large for international religious freedom (IRF), who remarked in a social media post last week that the ban “violates religious freedom”.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also criticised the hijab ban, terming the decision as “oppressive”.
Responding to these critical remarks, the Indian Foreign Ministry said on 12 February that “motivated comments on our internal issues are not welcome”.
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