Amid both national and international protests against an offensive comment against Prophet Mohammed by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, influential muslim body All India Muslim Personal Law Board has issued an appeal to Islamic scholars and clerics to abstain from TV shows.

Another prominent body of clerics, Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind that had called for a gathering of Muslim bodies recently to debate on national issues concerning Muslims, has also asked its members to stay away from TV debates to “avoid situations from going out of control and comments getting misinterpreted.”

AIMPLB’s statement said islamic scholars to abstain from ‘TV debates whose sole intention is to insult Muslims and make a mockery of Islam and prophet Mohammed.”

“To gather some legitimacy TV channels need Muslim faces in their debate. Due to their obliviousness, our Islamic scholars and intellectuals become victims of such agenda. If we boycott such programmes and shows, not only will it affect their TRPs negatively but also fail in achieving their desired outcome through these debates,” it added.

Maulana Niyaz Farooqui, national secretary of the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind said the organisation has urged its members to not participate in any TV debate as “most are designed to instigate them.” “We have told them that the situation has become very polarised and it’s time to show restraint. There are some ‘planted maulanas’ who come in a regular set of debates and say things that are not often true about the religion or its followers. Our request is to the entire community to not take part in any debate for now.”

Advocate MR Shamshad who represents AIMPLB in the Supreme Court welcomed the decision and said, “How can one express his view if there are 4-5 people sitting to speak in 20 minutes and the anchor himself takes 10 minutes to say what he thinks to be correct. The content of discourse can’t be set by the anchors of a few TV channels. Issues are chosen to create hostility amongst fellow citizens and then they don’t allow the guest to explain his stance. They ask these people to join just to create some representative angle without their intention to allow them to say what they have to, which creates more fissures.”

Following the fall-out of the issue, particularly in Islamic nations, the BJP too had asked its spokespersons to strictly stick to the party’s line of “garib kalyan’ (welfare of the poor) and Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and not say anything offensive about any religion.