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Explainer: India BJP Party spokesperson's comments on prophet spark backlash

The comments have drawn attention to anti-Muslim statements among some BJP officials, while sparking social media reactions on all sides.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists shout slogans from a police vehicle after being detained during a protest against West Bengal's state government over alleged irregularities in the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment process, in Kolkata on May 20, 2022.

The Indian government is in hot water over comments two politicians from the ruling party made about Islam's Prophet Muhammad. 

What happened: The controversy began with comments made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokeswoman Nupur Sharma on the TV station Times Now on May 27. Sharma was commenting on the Gyanvapi mosque controversy. The mosque in northeast India was built on the site of an earlier Hindu shrine. Some Islamists have reportedly claimed that there actually was no shrine at the site. During the TV segment, Sharma rhetorically asked if she should "mock" some parts of the Muslim holy book, the Quran. She specifically mentioned "flying horses," a likely reference to the buraq creature. She also brought up the Prophet Muhammad's marriage to Aisha, describing her as 9 years old at the time the marriage was consummated, according to local media. 

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