A discussion on a Clubhouse chatroom has triggered some heated debates between Christians and Muslims in Kerala. The recent discussion on ‘Love Jihad’ held by some Christian groups on the voice chat platform Clubhouse has angered Muslims in the state, reports New Indian Express
According to the NIE report, some Christian groups had organised a discussion titled “Christian Youths, This Way” on Clubhouse earlier this week. In the chat sessions organised by members of the Christian community, some of the speakers had raised issues such as ‘Love Jihad’ and had allegedly made some communal remarks against the Muslim community.
The remarks by Chrisitans have irked Muslims in the state, who are now trying to speak to Christian groups on the same in an effort to address the issue.
“Some of the utterances in the session were not merely anti-Muslim, but also anti-human. It was indeed shocking to hear such comments in the public space,” said Sunni scholar Basheer Faizy Desamangalam, as per the NIE report.
The Islamic scholar claimed that the Christian speakers highlighted incidents such as chopping the hands of Professor TJ Joseph to promote enmity between the Muslims and Christians in the state. As per Basheer, the chopping of TJ Joseph’s right palm by radical Islamists of the Popular Front of India for commenting on Prophet Muhammad was condemned by all Muslim organisations.
“They were harping on ‘Love Jihad’, a charge that has been dismissed by all investigating agencies and the courts,” he said.
Faizy said that many from the Christian community have now denounced the comments made by the participants on that Clubhouse discussion. He claimed that a priest apologised on behalf of the community for the comments that were made and expressed solidarity with them in a session organised by some Muslim groups.
Faizy said the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulema, the body of Sunni scholars, has expedited the move to initiate a dialogue between Christians and Muslims to sort out the issues. “We consider Christians as a fraternal community, historically and theologically,” he said.
Christian groups says the issue of ‘Love Jihad’ is real
Interestingly, Father Noble Thomas Parakkal, who had participated in the discussions, said the issue was “Love Jihad” cannot be fully written off as baseless. However, all interfaith marriages cannot be put under the category.
“There is a pattern that is discernible throughout the state that compels us to suspect a design behind it,” he said Father Noble, who is the public relations officer of Mananthavady diocese, said the present discussions should be seen in the backdrop of historical events such as the genocide of Christians in Armenia and the brutalities unleashed by the Islamic State.
Defending their criticism against Islam, Father Noble said that Islamic preachers such as MM Akbar have been insulting their religion for the past two decades
The Christian Priest said that there is a feeling that the entire Muslim community supported the Popular Front of India (PFI) in the Hadiya Love Jihad case. Panakkad Sadiq Ali Thangal’s newspaper article hailed the conversion of Hagia Sofia into a mosque, which was also provocative, Father Noble said.
Father Noble said sincere dialogues are possible only if the Muslim organisations stopped making further provocations.
“The latest example is the issue of 80:20 ratio (in the merit-cum-means scholarships). Everyone knows that justice is on our side, but all Muslim organisations continue to taunt us by making false claims,” he said, pointing out how Muslims have been demanding the entire minority scholarship quota to them.
Recently, The Kerala High Court had quashed three government orders pertaining to minority scholarships that fixed the ratio of scholarship distribution at 80:20 between Muslims and Christians. The Court directed the government to disburse the merit-cum-means scholarships equally among notified minority communities as per the latest population census, which had irked Muslims, who wanted all the quota to be given to only their community.
Kerala Catholics condemn Clubhouse discussion
The Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM) has condemned the comments made by certain Christian groups on the Clubhouse. In a statement, the KCYM state committee blasted the groups “that are working to implement the communal agenda of some political parties” and distanced itself from the debate.
The statement said torture of Christian missionaries in North India and communal policies of the central government are also the concerns of the Catholic Church. However, the fringe groups wanted to concentrate only on issues related to one particular religion, it said.
Meanwhile, Kerala MLA Najeeb Kanthapuram has asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take stringent action against those who are trying to create a communal divide through social media. In a letter, Najeeb said that his social media have been flooded with posts, video and audio documentaries that allegedly create division between Christian and Muslim communities in the past few months.
Claiming that there is some clear conspiracy behind the posts, the MLA raised the suspicion that the move is aimed to destroy the communal amity and peaceful co-existence in society. “The atmosphere of peace existing in Kerala for centuries should not be disturbed and all efforts should be made to nab the culprits,” he said in the letter.