The Muslim Central Committee of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts will convene a conference of Muslims here on November 12 to discuss issues related to “love jehad”.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday committee president K.S. Mohammed Masood alleged that vested interests were attempting to tarnish the image of Islam by framing the phrase “love jehad”. “There is no such phrase in Islam. It is an absurd usage,” he said.

Mr. Masood alleged that vested interests, unable to digest the progress made by Muslims in various sectors, had been attempting for the past a decade to ensure the community remained backward economically. These forces were trying to project Muslims in a bad light, particularly in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Muslims were being projected as terrorists. Attempts had been made to project madrasas as places where arms and ammunition were being stored.

He alleged that some forces were not able to tolerate the fact that Muslims had built medical, engineering and nursing colleges and other educational institutes in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Such forces are trying to divide Muslims and Hindus by coining the phase “love jehad”. “It is an attempt to destabilise peace in society and Muslim-Hindu unity,” he said.

Mr. Masood said the committee condemned the campaign to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims.

If any Muslim was found converting women under the guise of “love jehad”, the Government should take strict action against that person. The Government should also take action against the forces behind the “love jehad” campaign against Islam.

He said that Muslim intellectuals, representatives of Muslim educational institutes, and ulemas would attend the conference.

Hameed Kandak, vice-president of the committee, later told The Hindu that some activists of the Sangh Parivar staged a protest in front of the Bantwal town police station on October 11 alleging that forces promoting “love jehad” were behind the incident in which a Hindu woman, Anitha, from Bantwal, had gone missing. A prominent Hindu religious leader and a political leader also took part in the protest.

However, the police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a person, Mohan Kumar, on charges of murdering 18 women. Anitha was one of his victims, according to the police. All the women murdered by Kumar were listed as missing from their homes.

This incident showed that the allegations that women who had gone missing had fallen prey to “love jehad” were baseless, he said.