Love Jihad- The Killer Agenda and the Legal Approaches

Blog authored by Athulya R. Krishnan, law student from Government Law College Ernakulam Kerala

Introduction:

The term’ Love Jihad’ has been discussed all over India for over a decade. This is used as a conspiracy theory of the Muslim community against all other non- Muslim communities to gain power over the world from a very long time ago. The theory accuses Muslim men of luring non- Muslim women by feigning love with the intention of converting them to the Muslim community. The campaign gained popularity for accusing the Muslim community of its intention to achieve the demographic goals, which is inevitable for Islam’s domination over other religions. And it is one among the factors for the rampant fear of islamophobia among people around the world.

Indian Legal Aspects on Love Jehad;       

Discussing the condition of India regarding this, it started when in 2009, the Kerala High Court in Shahan Sha A vs the State Of Kerala, confirmed the signs of “love Jehad” and mentioned that during the last four years, 3,000 to 4,000 religious conversions had taken place after love affairs converting girls from other religions to Islam to marry Muslim boys. The role of the organization, Popular Front of India (PFI) came out in the case.

 The prominent role is run by fundamentalist outfits like National Democratic Front (PDF) and Campus Front, which have roots in college campuses in various cities. There were indications of “forceful” religious conversions under the guise of “love”, and the court recommended the government to consider enacting a law to prohibit such “deceptive” acts.

Then the Syro-Malabar Church, the largest Christian denomination in Kerala, has added weight to the allegations that Hindu and Christian communities in Kerala face the threat of love Jehad. And said that it is a reality, and the Islamic State (IS) has engaged Muslim men to feign love and lure scores of Christian women from Kerala to be used in terror activities.

At the same time, the Hindu Jana­jagruti Samiti claimed that 30,000 girls had been converted in Karnataka. And George Kurian, the chairman of Minority Commission, wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, asking for a probe by the National Investigation Agency into cases involving Islamic radicals. The spate of organized religious conversions and using the victims for terror activities has shown that the Christian community is a soft target for Islamic radicals. A report by the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council’s Commission for Social Harmony and Vigilance stated that 4,000 instances of love Jihad took place between 2005 and 2012. And the report remarked that the conversion, per se, is not a problem, but in these cases, the conversion was not to Islam but terrorism, which is a threat to the society.

The list of 21 women from Kerala who were allegedly converted to Islam and taken to Syria to join the IS became controversial. Meanwhile, Nimisha (Fathima), an IS supporter who is lodged in a Kabul jail after leaving for Syria and her husband and child, along with nine other Indian widows who left the country to fight for the IS should read along with that.         

The Kerala HC commented on `Love Jihad’ in the context of two cases where Hindu women had eloped to marry Muslim men. The women’s parents had filed complaints claiming the women had been abducted, and the Kerala High Court ordered them to stay with their parents for a week. At the end of the week, one of the women had given a statement claiming she had been brainwashed into adopting Islam and shown `jehadi’ CDs. Based on this single statement, the Kerala HC chose to order the Kerala Government and the Union Home Ministry to probe what it alleged was a nationwide `Love Jehad’ racket.

The Kerala State DGP has submitted a report to the Kerala HC declaring that there is no evidence of any `Love Jehad’ movement anywhere in the country. Karnataka’s Dakshina Kanada district police have also busted the myth of `Love Jehad.’ Recently when Anitha, a young woman, went missing, the right-wing organizations claimed that she was forcibly converted to Islam by a Pakistan-backed, professional `jihadist lover’. But the police denied the accusation and established that a serial killer murdered Anitha. A top police official stated that by cracking this case, they were putting an end to this `Love Jehad’ controversy once and for all and expressed his opinion as certain fundamentalist groups that have been carrying out vigilante attacks against inter-community couples for several years have now started using the `Love Jehad’ theory to justify their attacks.”

The in the most renowned Hadiya case, the Kerala High Court had in 2017 ruled that Shafin Jahan’s marriage with her was null and void as it was the fallout of love Jehad. But the couple, determined in their decision, took the case to the Supreme Court and managed to win it. The Supreme Court recognized the marriage of an Indian citizen and reinstated the marriage between the two

An Islamophobic and Anti-feministic theory;

A Hindu girl marrying a Muslim in today’s forward-looking world would ordinarily be considered a simple inter-faith marriage. But that is not how the radical right-wing groups approach this matter. For them, ‘Love Jihad’ is the phrase coined to describe a manipulative Muslim conspiracy to convert vulnerable Hindu women to Islam. Framing it as a huge issue will serve the not-so-hidden political agenda of promoting religious polarization. And the theory emphasizes preventing the women from making their own life choices by considering them as vulnerable and weak sections of society that needed to be protected by society.

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