Grand Mufti to take decision after Ulema Council meet

The controversy over conversions by Christian missionaries in the Valley may further deepen as the Pastor of the All India Saints Church has admitted to his involvement in the practice. He has also claimed that he was being supported by certain NGOs and intellectuals in his “mission.”

Pastor C.M. Khanna has made his confession before a group of 15 Islamic scholars and representatives of various religious groups headed by the Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Mohammad Bashiruddin.

The Grand Mufti, after receiving complaints that the Pastor was involved in conversions in the Valley, summoned him last month. The Pastor, however, was out of station and had sought time to appear before the Grand Mufti who heads Supreme Court of Islamic Jurisprudence in Kashmir.

Speaking toThe Hindu, the Grand Mufti said: “Initially he did not accept that he was doing this.”

The Pastor reportedly said he was on a “peace mission promoting communal harmony between Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Christians.”

“But when confronted by some boys, he had no option but to accept,” the Grand Mufti said, adding that they had a CD containing evidence about how the Pastor was performing conversion.

The Pastor has confessed to having converted 15 boys so far and promised to give their list to the Grand Mufti.

“The Pastor said some NGO and intellectuals were with him in this mission and some of them had accompanied him to South Africa to preach Christianity,” said the Grand Mufti.

Ulemas to meet

Terming the issue a “grave” one, he said Ulema (scholars) from various organisations including the Jamat-e-Islami, the Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees, the Islamic Study Circle and the Nadwatul Ulema would meet again to take a final decision. “As of now I have reserved my judgment. The Ulema council was scheduled to meet on November 19, but it has been postponed,” the Grand Mufti said.

The Grand Mufti asserted that whatever be the decision, it has to be implemented, otherwise “there will be serious consequences… We will implement the part we have to do and government should do its part,” he added.

Authorities were, however, cautious in reacting to the development.

“Let the final decision of the Grand Mufti come. We will proceed accordingly,” said a senior police officer. According to sources, the State government is perturbed over the matter, fearing another cycle of unrest in the Valley.

The police have already registered a case under Sections 153A, 259 and 186 of the Ranbir Penal Code. Seven people have been arrested so far.