Close on the heels of his circular on alleged attempts by fraudsters to entrap young women, Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, Bishop of Palai, has come out in the open accusing a section of the Muslim community of targeting Christians through love jihad and narcotic jihad.
Addressing the laity on the occasion of the Eight day lent of Mary that concluded the other day, the Bishop has urged the laity to be conscious of the pitfalls in “befriending people from other communities”. To back the argument, he also pointed to a statement by the former State police chief, Loknath Behra, that Kerala had become a hotbed of terrorist sleeper cells and a recruiting centre of the terrorists.
“A very few Muslim groups have been indulged in promoting communal violence and religious hatred. They are present everywhere in the world including Kerala,” noted the Bishop. These groups, according to him, have been using different strategies for multiplying that are bafflingly difficult to pin down.
Pointing to a sharp rise in cases of young Christian women being subjected to abuse or religious conversion after eloping with men from other community, the Bishop warned that these “jihadists” had already cast their nets over places including schools, colleges, training centres and even commercial centres. “Many of you must have been witness to the grief of helpless parents whose daughters have been brainwashed by these strangers,” he added, also citing how Nimisha Fathima aka Nimisha and Ayeisha aka Sonia Sebastian, who were Hindu and Christian respectively, ended up at the terrorist camps.
“To ask what's wrong with a man and woman from different communities loving each other is a simple question. But how such marriages are taking place and what happens to them afterward is indeed a grand question. Women are seen to directed towards compromising faith and then to terrorism. Our objection lies in here,” stated the Bishop.
Regarding the “narcotic jihad”, the Bishop said the rising number of drug cases were a pointer to the practice's existence. “These gangs operate out of the ice-cream or soft drinks parlours and restaurants run by jihadists and deploy different types of narcotics as a tool to destroy non-muslims. These facts are reinforced by the rising cases of rave parties and the identities of those organising such parties'', noted the bishop.
The list , according to him , does not stop there. The incidents of religious hatred in the domain of art and culture, programmes that seek to caste aspersions on other religions, the business strategies like halal food, major real estate deals at inflated prices, parallel telephone exchange, armoury shops etc are all part of these, he added.
The bishop further accused a section of the media for turning a blind eye or attempting to trivialize such issues.
While the bogey of ‘love jihad’ has already gained deep traction among the Catholic community in Central Travancore, this is the first time that the head of any Catholic diocese has directly named Muslims in this connection. The issue, which took a centre stage during the recent Assembly elections, has been raging on with different organisations, including political parties, often pitching in to create a narrative on it.