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Love Jihad is not a figment of the ‘right wing’ imagination, it is a real and present danger

It's high time that governments and authorities started addressing it like any other real social issue instead of burying their heads in the sand, pretending that it doesn’t happen

“Love Jihad”, also known as “Romeo Jihad” in some countries, is a strategy of luring vulnerable girls to convert to Islam by feigned love. Instead of genuine marital bliss, these girls get trapped in a web of deceit and frequently end up in the hands of Islamic extremist organizations. This phenomenon has been dismissed by the self-proclaimed “liberals” as a figment of the “right-wing” imagination. However, what is the truth? Does Love Jihad truly exist?

A review of some such cases in news points to a fixed pattern and modus operandi of the perpetrators.

  • National level shooter Tara Shadeo from Ranchi, Jharkhand complained that she married Ranjit Kohli as per Hindu rituals who turned out to be Raqibul Hasan Khan. After the wedding, he insisted on having a Nikaah and tortured her to accept Islam
  • National level Taekwondo player from Kanpur, UP complained that she was cheated by a man who introduced himself as “Raja”. He turned out to be Mohammed Waseem who had concealed his religion to lure her and then forced her for conversion and Nikaah. Her identity was withheld, she was a minor (only 14 years old) at the time of the incident
  • Girl from Bareilly, UP reported that she met “Golu” in a gym who was sporting a “Tilak” on the forehead and “Kalaawa” (Hindu sacred thread) on the wrist. He turned out to be Aamir who started forcing her to accept Islam and eat beef before marrying her
  • A girl from Shamli, UP reported that a man approached her on Facebook under a forged Hindu name, spiked her drink, made her obscene video and blackmailed her into marrying him. He later tried selling her to human traffickers
  • Subhologna Chakraborty from West Bengal was getting ready for court marriage with someone whose real name turned out to be Sheikh Sultan. When Family called off the wedding, he shot Subhologna dead and injured both her parents

In 2009, Kerala High Court confirmed the signs of “love jihad”; the court’s statement mentioned the following observations –

  • during the last four years, 3,000 to 4,000 religious conversions have taken place after love affairs
  • involving converting girls from other religions to Islam after enticing them to marry Muslim boys
  • police reports indicated a ‘concerted’ effort to convert girls of a particular religion to another with the ‘blessings of some outfits’
  • fundamentalist outfits like National Democratic Front (NDF) and Campus Front have roots in college campuses in various cities
  • there were indications of “forceful” religious conversions under the guise of “love”, the Kerala State High Court recommended the government to consider enacting a law to prohibit such “deceptive” acts

In 2016, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also confirmed that there’s a pattern to convert Hindu girls and get them married to Muslim men.

In 2016, many women in Kerala approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asking for help to track down their young daughters who had disappeared after marrying young Muslim men and then being converted to Islam.

Bindu, the mother of a girl in Kerala reported that her daughter was lured by a young Muslim man, got married and converted to Islam. After a few months, Bindu was told that her daughter was pregnant but the communication was irregular. One day, the daughter called her mother to tell her that she was in Sri Lanka. The next thing was a call from Afghanistan followed by a long silence. It was then that Bindu approached the Chief Minister.

Police suspected that this girl had gone over with her husband to Syria to join the Islamic State. A local TV channel tracked down at least five more families, with a similar story like that of Bindu, mostly from Malappuram.

In 2017, in the same Malappuram, media house India Today conducted a sting operation on Popular Front of India (PFI), a charitable organization (based in Malappuram) and frequently accused of conducting illegal religious conversions to Islam.

Zainaba, President of Women’s Wing of PFI mentioned in front of the camera that all such allegations were baseless, nobody could compel such conversions or convert people from one religion to another.

However, when she thought that camera was off, she admitted to proselytizing about 5,000 non-Muslim women into Islam. She also explained how conversion centres have to be disguised as charitable or educational establishments in order to prevent any backlash from RSS and explained their modus operandi in detail.

Screen Grab from India Today Sting Operation

Ahmed Shareef, the founding member of PFI talked about patriotic stuff including India’s freedom struggle in front of the camera. When he thought that the camera was off, he talked about how their goal was first to convert India into the Islamic State and then the entire world. He also talked about receiving funds from the Middle East for their mission.

Screen Grab from India Today Sting Operation

A detailed report on the above operation is accessible on the India Today website. The report also contains a 10 minutes video of a sting operation that shows the above conversations. Alternatively, one can also watch the full 50 minutes show on this sting operation on the website of India Today or on YouTube.

2018 report in The Pioneer mentioned about cases where “love” is used as a trap to lure girls into forced religious conversions or sexual abuse or both. India has more or less chosen to ignore the issue because of its sensitivity but other countries including the UK are also facing the same. This seems true as the British newspapers from way back in 2007 also reported about –

  • Police rescuing girls from forced conversions to Islam
  • recruiters from radical Islamic groups being paid about £5000 for each successful mission
  • recruiters “stepping up aggressive conversion tactics, especially around universities”

British Newspapers Evening Standard and Metro on Romeo Jihad

This is not to say that all inter-faith marriages are fake. However, it must be understood that the existence of radical Islamic elements who use deception and proselytizing as a means of expanding their religion is real.

Aberrations like rape or violence may be unwanted anomalies in any civil society but they happen and need to be addressed anyway. Similarly, love-jihad may be perpetrated by only a few individuals and organizations but it does happen.

It’s high time that governments and authorities started addressing it like any other real social issue instead of burying their heads in the sand, pretending that it doesn’t happen, engaging in political correctness driven by the fear of offending Muslims or summarily dismissing it as a fake narrative by Hindu Nationalists.

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Shashank Goyal
IIM-A alumnus, Software Sales Professional, Writes about business, economy and politics; Passionate about numbers, facts and analysis Tweets @shashankgoyal01

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