KOCHI/KOZHIKODE: On the lines of the Syro-Malabar Church’s long-standing charges of ‘love jihad’, Pala Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt has come up with allegations of a new method to convert youth belonging to the community called ‘narcotic jihad’, sparking sharp reactions from Muslim organisations.
They alleged that the bishop’s charges are an attempt to divide society and demanded legal action against him for spreading hatred among communities. The bishop had also issued a circular in July announcing incentives to families that have more than four children in a bid to stem the plunging number of Church members.
Delivering the sermon on the eighth day of lent of St Mary at Kuravilangad on Wednesday, the bishop said believers should ensure that young girls are brought up in a pious environment to imbibe values of spirituality.
“A lot of social and religious developments are taking place across the world including Kerala. The two main issues are love jihad and narcotic jihad used by jihadis to trap young non-Muslim girls,” he said, adding that the recent statement by former DGP Loknath Behera on Kerala become recruiting ground for terrorists organisations reveals the gravity of the situation.
Rising cases of rave parties give clear picture: Pala bishop
“Like in other parts of the world, there are a section of Muslims in Kerala who want to create animosity between communities and spread religious hatred. Jihadis are using different means to spread Islam and they are into targeting young non-Muslim girls for the same,” he said, citing examples of Nimisha and Sonia Sebastian, the two non-Muslim young girls who got converted into Islam after falling in love with Muslim men and finally left Kerala to join Islamic State in Syria.
On narcotic jihad, the bishop said the rising number of drug cases was an example of the menace gripping the society. “Jihadis are using drugs as a means to destroy non-Muslim youth. They operate from different places, mainly ice-cream parlours and restaurants. The rising cases of rave parties and details of those behind organising such parties give a clear picture,” he said.
There are also attempts to malign other religions in various ways like promoting ‘halal’ food. “Though the Church has issued circulars highlighting the issue, the believers haven’t take the matter seriously,” he added.
Various Muslim organisations condemned the bishop’s statements strongly. In a statement issued in Kozhikode, Samastha Kerala Sunni Students Federation (SKSSF) said the bishop is creating communal division by levelling such baseless allegations.
Federation state general secretary Sathar Panthaloor said the bishop should present evidence for his allegations of love jihad and narcotic jihad. “The government should initiate legal action against the bishop for spreading hatred,” he said.
“Such poisonous campaigns will vitiate the friendly atmosphere existing in Kerala. Enlightened Keralites know as to who are conducting missionary activities, exploiting diseases and poverty among people,” the statement said. Sathar also asked the government to release the detailed statistics of interfaith marriages in Kerala.
Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM) termed the bishop’s remarks as a deliberate attempt to create division in society. Its state president TP Abdulla Koya Madani said jihad is a technical term in Islam which means struggling hard. “But the term is being used to denote hatred against other religions. Top religious functionaries should not react unwisely like the Sangh Parivar-minded hate-mongers,” Madani said.
He wanted asked the bishop to produce evidence to link jihad with narcotics. Even the courts have maintained that love jihad is a lie, he added. Jama’at-e-Islami general secretary VT Abdulla Koya Thangal said the terms like love jihad and narcotic jihad are used to keep the Muslim community under the shadow of suspicion. Such irresponsible statements will have far-reaching consequences, he said.