The Synod, the supreme body of the Church comprising all bishops, added that there is a situation in Kerala where Christian girls were being killed over the issue.
Two years after the Kerala High Court came down on a campaign by various religious groups against what they described as ‘love jihad’, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church — the largest Christian segment in Kerala — on Wednesday said “love jihad is a reality” and added that Christian women were lured to join the Islamic State terror group after conversion.
The Synod of the Church, after three-day-long deliberations, said “love jihad has grown in Kerala in a manner endangering secularism and social tranquility”.
The Synod, the supreme body of the Church comprising all bishops, added that there is a situation in Kerala where Christian girls were being killed over the issue. The bishops’ meeting called for an enlightenment drive among parents and girls.
A press release from the Synod said, “It is a reality that there is love jihad targeting Christian women in Kerala. Out of 21 persons who joined the ISIS, half of them had been converted from Christianity. It should be an eye-opener for us.”
The Synod said that recently several incidents where Christian girls were trapped, abused and blackmailed to convert had come to light. But, police did not take any action in such cases, which should not be reckoned as a religious issue, but a law and order subject affecting society as a whole, it added.
The Popular Front of India (PFI), an Islamic outfit, questioned the “timing” of the statement and urged the Church to withdraw it immediately “as it would only help create division amid growing unity among various sections of society against Hindutva Fascism”.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) welcomed the Church’s statement and called for a united fight against “Love Jihad in Kerala Society”.
The Church had recently raked up the issue of conversions after a young woman in Kozhikode complained that she was sexually abused and blackmailed by her partner who wanted her to convert to Islam. Subsequently, the Church has been conducting special sessions for girls in various dioceses against what they call a “love trap”.
In 2017, a division bench of the Kerala High Court had criticised the campaign by various religious groups against conversions and said that “every case of inter-religious marriage shall not be portrayed on a religious canvas and create fissures in the communal harmony otherwise existing in God’s own country Kerala”. —(With PTI inputs)