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KUWAIT CITY: Anger in the Middle East spread Monday over comments made by an official of India’s ruling party about the Holy Prophet (PBUH), with various countries summoning New Delhi’s envoy and a Kuwaiti supermarket removing Indian products.

The United Arab Emirates became the latest country to voice its condemnation of the remarks, saying they were “contrary to moral and humanitarian values and principles.”

The UAE’s foreign ministry underlined the “need for respecting religious symbols... and countering hate speech”, state news agency WAM reported. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries in the region, as well as the influential Al-Azhar University in Cairo, have condemned the comments by a spokeswoman for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, who has since been suspended.

In Kuwait, supermarket workers piled Indian tea and other products into trolleys in a protest against comments denounced as “Islamophobic”.

At the Al-Ardiya Co-Operative Society just outside Kuwait City, sacks of rice and shelves of spices and chilies were covered with plastic sheets. “We have removed Indian products”, signs in Arabic read.

“We, as a Kuwaiti Muslim people, do not accept insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH),” Nasser Al-Mutairi, CEO of the store, told AFP. An official at the chain said a company-wide boycott was being considered.

BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma’s comments denounced

Comments by Bharatiya Janata Party spokeswoman Nupur Sharma describing the Prophet Mohammed’s relationship with his youngest wife have sparked a furore among Muslims. Sharma’s remarks during a televised debate last week were blamed for clashes in an Indian state and prompted demands for her arrest. Anger spread overseas to Muslim countries about the remarks.

Modi’s party, which has frequently been accused of acting against the country’s Muslim minority, on Sunday suspended Sharma for expressing “views contrary to the party’s position” and said it “respects all religions”. Sharma said on Twitter that her comments had been in response to “insults” made against the Hindu god Shiva. “If my words have caused discomfort or hurt religious feelings of anyone whatsoever, I hereby unconditionally withdraw my statement,” she said. On Sunday, Qatar demanded that India apologise for the “Islamophobic” comments, as India’s Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu visited the gas-rich Gulf state in a bid to bolster trade.

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