Love Jihad: Propaganda or Reality?

News of “Love Jihad” has gained prominence on national television these days, especially due to the cases in Meerut & Shooter Tara Sachdev in August 2014:
shooter_taraNews link:
http://zeenews.india.com/sports/others/shooter-tara-sachdev-alleges-husband-of-forceful-conversion_794928.html

As the issue of “Love Jihad” came under intense media scrutiny, several more cases were being reported & published in newspapers over the next few days.

Following are snapshots of news articles reporting 4 cases over the next 2 days:love_jihad_cases
News links:
Link 1, Link 2, Link 3Link 4.

Political parties in states like Uttar Pradesh (Northern India) raked up this issue of “Love Jihad” as one of the major concerns, while right wing parties in particular were criticized by leftists & liberals for using it as a propaganda to polarize voters for electoral gains. 
http://www.newindianexpress.com/prabhu_chawla/columns/The-Love-Jihad-Issue-is-BJPs-Propaganda-for-Political-Gains/2014/09/08/article2421017.ece

Few days later, to the utter dismay of right wing parties who were harping on this issue, one of the alleged victims of Love Jihad made a complete U-Turn by going back on her statement and admitting that it was her own decision.
meerut_u_turn
News link:
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/meerut-woman-goes-back-on-statement-in-blow-to-love-jihad-pitch-606089

This news actually came as a surprise even to leftists & liberals who now stood vindicated by this U-Turn. So, does that mean “Love Jihad” is just a propaganda by right wing political parties & media? I was curious to find out more about it and hence began my quest for truth. After unearthing news archives from Indian & Foreign media, I was overwhelmed & startled by the facts, statistics & information related to this topic. I do not want to come to any conclusions about “Love Jihad”, but would like to consolidate all those findings in this case study.

By definition, “Love Jihad” is an alleged attempt by some Muslim men to lure non-Muslim girls with promises of marriage and get them converted to Islam.

Although the term “Love Jihad” sounds too desi & sensational, it is not an issue prevalent in India alone, but is actually a Global phenomenon.  In other countries, it is referred to as “Romeo Jihad” or “Religious Grooming”. Such cases have been very well reported & documented in UK and one can easily find news reports about extremists targeting young girls and converting them in the pretext of love.

For example, here is a report from a UK news publisher in 2007:metro_2007
News link:
http://metro.co.uk/2007/02/22/hindu-girls-targeted-by-extremists-108990/

Another news report from UK in 2007:
times_2007
News link:
https://web.archive.org/web/20070305161651/http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1464601.ece

Few years ago, Imams in UK had called for seduction of Sikh girls to get them converted to Islam in the pretext of love & marriage:
leaflet
Source:
http://knowing-islamic-doctrines.blogspot.in/2011/01/leaflet-calling-muslims-boys-in-uk-to.html

High res pic:
http://www.pickledpolitics.com/pictures/media/article_khilafat.jpg

Thousands of Sikh girls & Hindu girls are being duped in the name of love to get them converted. Following is an instance of a Sikh girl recounting her story on BBC Network Radio:
http://www.sikhhelpline.com/hear-a-sikh-girl-tell-her-story-on-radio-a-girl-writes-her-story-other-mp3s-available/

In certain parts of UK, the situation has reached alarming proportions and is also called “grooming”.
This BBC documentary sheds some light on it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hXTM7ehvtk

In India, such instances of “Love Jihad” have been prevalent in South India (particularly Kerala & Southern parts of Karnataka) with thousands of documented cases dating back to 2008-09.

In 2009, the High Court of Kerala called for the state legislation to enact laws to keep such “Love Jihad” & forceful conversions under check:
kerala_hc
News link:
http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/hc-calls-for-law-to-check–love-jehad-/552275

At around the same time in 2009, the Karnataka Govt was also concerned about rising cases of “Love Jihad” (declared it as a serious issue) and had assured that appropriate steps would be taken to counter it.
karnataka_govt
News link:
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/31814/karnataka-take-steps-counter-love.html

With these states on high alert, Police had begun to crack down on some of the cases & rescued the girl. Following is one such instance from 2010 where the Karnataka Police labelled it as a case of Love Jihad and rescued the girl.mysore_girl_rescued_2010
News link:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysore/Love-Jihad-girl-rescued/articleshow/5767968.cms

In 2012, the Congress Govt in Kerala admitted that more than 2500 girls were being converted.
kerala_cm
News link:
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/love-jihad-oommen-chandy-islam-kerala-muslim-marriage/1/215942.html

The following table from Crime Record Bureau of Kerala Police shows that out of the 2800+ incidents of Love Jihad cases, 261 have been investigated & rescued.
kerala_cases
Courtesy:
http://indianexponent.com/project-global-islamization-and-role-of-love-jihad-in-india/

Such was the concern raised over the issue, that even Wiki Leaks tweeted about it in 2011.
wikileaks_love_jihad
Tweet link:
https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/108262212157710336

Whether the leftists & liberals think it is a propaganda or the right wing thinks it is a real & serious issue, the fact remains that it has been documented & reported throughout the World for more than a decade now, and has been under intense debate between political parties (in UK) and a serious concern even among Indian Legislators (Karnataka Govt) & Indian Judiciary (Kerala High Court) as well.

Are interfaith marriages a problem? Not at all. The problem is when they are being deceived in the name of love put under emotional pressure to convert. There is nothing wrong in 2 individuals falling in love. Love is beyond language, faith, culture & religion. If the love is genuine, there is no need for any conversion. But the problem in “Love Jihad” (or “Romeo Jihad” as per UK’s terminology) is that the boy convinces the girl to marry under “Sharia law”. Under Sharia law, anybody who marries a Muslim must also get converted to Islam. Under emotional pressure, the girl might agree to get converted, but later, when she is unable to cope with the new faith, there is no way for her to revert to her original faith and doing so would be at the wrath of the family.

What is the solution? As love is beyond language, faith, culture & religion, if a girl & boy fall in love and decide to get married, nothing must stop them from doing so. If their love is genuine and if they think love is above religion, then they must marry under Civil Law. If they think religion is above love, they can undergo religious conversion & get married under Sharia Law. The choice is upto them, but they must know the terms & conditions (consequences) under both the Civil law & Sharia law so that they do not regret later.

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