Kerala Catholic Bishops Council slams ex-Kerala CM's son for justifying conversion of church in Turkey to mosque

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 5 (PTI) The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council on Friday hit out at Chandy Oommen, son of former Congress chief minister Oommen Chandy for allegedly justifying the conversion of Hagia Sophia church in Turkey to a mosque.

Chandy Oommen, a youth congress leader in a recent speech at a venue of the Youth League, said thousands of churches were converted into dance bars and no one had any issue.

KCBC in a statement said it was not right to 'cultivate communalism' for garnering votes in election.

'Young leaders should understand history while functioning as a political leader.His speech has pained the Christian community.Chandy Oommen has justified the Muslim League leader who had suported the conversion of the church into mosque.' 'What is the purpose of whitewashing the anti-Christian act throughthis immature behaviour,' the KCBC said in a statement.

The KCBC also said such communal statements will hurt society, especially before the elections.

However, Chandy Oommen in a statement said a part of his speech was cherry-picked to create a controversy.

'Thousands of churches in England andSpain are being converted to bars.No one has any issue with that.Since last 30 to 40 years, thousands of churches were being converted to dance bars and no onehad any issue.However, it's being used to create communal divide.' 'It's unfortunate.Do we really need to fight each other for some matters which had happened in some other country,' Chandy Oommen said.

On Friday evening, he issued a clarification, saying the RSS and the CPI(M) were spreading false news.

'Those spreading false news are trying to mislead the Christian community,' he said, adding that it was a dangerous trend.

The issue assumed significance amid reports that the UDF were straying away from the Christian community ahead of the state Assembly polls likely in April-May.PTI RRT BN ADMINISTRATOR BN ADMINISTRATOR