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HomeNews ReportsDominic Martin, who took responsibility for Kerala blast, accuses Jehova's Witness' of having 'anti-national...

Dominic Martin, who took responsibility for Kerala blast, accuses Jehova’s Witness’ of having ‘anti-national beliefs’ which incidentally match radical Islam

Martin reportedly said that Jehova's Witnesses ask the children not to sing the national anthem or join the defence services. "They reach that all people of the world will perish and only they will live. What should we do with the people who long for the ruin of the entire people in the world? I could not find a solution," Martin said.

The death toll rose to three in the Kerala blasts that rocked the prayer convention of Jehova’s Witnesses in Kochi, Kerala on 29th October after a 12-year-old girl succumbed to burn injuries during treatment.

The girl, a resident of Ernakulam district, had suffered 95 per cent burns and was on ventilator support. Two other women, Leona (55), and Kumari (53) are among the deceased. More than 50 people have been injured in the blasts at the Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Centre at Kalamassery.

Hours after the blasts, a man named Dominic Martin surrendered to the police claiming responsibility for the explosions. Before his arrest, Martin, a former member of Jehova’s Witness, appeared live on a social media platform and said that he believed that its teachings were “anti-national and seditious”.

“Their teaching is not right. They are teaching anti-national things. I told them that they should change their ways. Staying in a…but cursing and addressing people in that country in the worst…derogatory form is they do. They are telling a 4-year-old child that if somebody from another community gives you candy, you shouldn’t have it. From an early age, they are feeding such poison into the child,” the accused reportedly alleged.

He further said, “I took this decision because I understood that this organisation is bad for the country. Political parties won’t take action because everyone is scared of religion. You should open your eyes.”

The Indian Express quoted Martin saying that Jehova’s Witnesses ask the children not to sing the national anthem or join the defence services. “They reach that all people of the world will perish and only they will live. What should we do with the people who long for the ruin of the entire people in the world? I could not find a solution,” Martin said.

Jehova’s Witnesses, according to information available on their website jw.org, “strive to adhere to the form of Christianity that Jesus taught and that is apostles practised”. They consider Jehova as the one true and Almighty God, the Creator, who is the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

According to information on jw.org, Jehova’s Witnesses do not participate in nationalistic ceremonies. “Jehova’s Witnesses choose not to participate in such ceremonies because we believe that these conflict with Bible teachings. We appreciate receiving the same respect for our beliefs as we show to others who make a different choice,” the official website of Jehova’s Witnesses reads. The group claims to remain “strictly neutral” in political affairs and “avoid affiliation with other religions”. Interestingly, a lot of these beliefs bear a resemblance to Islam in more than one way primarily owing to their Abrahamic origins.

Religion before Nation

Islam and Jehova’s Witness, both propagate religion above nationalism making religious identity the unifying aspect of the community and not the country. This has been reflected in some incidents pertaining to the same.

In 1986, three children belonging to the Jehova’s Witness sect refused to sing the National Anthem in their school in Kerala citing their beliefs. The children – Bijoe Emmanuel, Binu, and Bindu – were expelled from the Nair Service Society High School.

However, the Supreme Court later held that forcing them to sing the National Anthem was a violation of their fundamental right to religion under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.

Similarly, a Muslim cleric forbade the students of a madrasa in UP’s Maharajganj from singing the national anthem on Independence Day in 2018. In a video that went viral on social media, the cleric was heard telling the students to avoid singing the national anthem because it is not “jayaz” (permissible) in Islam.

The Uttar Pradesh government derecognised the madrasa and the UP Madrasa Board released immediate orders to suspend its licence and registration.

According to al-islam.org, “the Quran has explicitly rejected the basis of nationalism”. It says, “To nationalism what matters the most is loyalty and attachment to the homeland, whereas to Islam, it is God and religion. Islam wishes all nations to regard the Quran as their Book, and the Ka’aba as their Qibla, and true leaders of Islam as their leaders.”

The same is reflected in historical events like India’s partition in 1947, which was based on religious grounds to form a purely “Islamic nation”. The idea of the Muslim Brotherhood, which emanated from the Middle East, and has been the foundation of several terrorist organisations in the region also is a key example.

Joining the armed forces of one’s homeland is also prohibited in both religions. Jehova’s Witnesses believe that “God alone deserves our worship”. Pledging allegiance to any symbol of nationalism is prohibited. “Jehovah’s Witnesses likewise feel that saluting the flag amounts to an act of worship, or idolatry, which the Bible prohibits,” the Jehova’s Witnesses state.

Last year, a 24-year-old former Muslim cleric from Kerala revealed that Indian Muslims are taught to not join the Indian Army. During a press conference, Askar Ali said, “We were taught to hate other communities and not to join the Indian army as we will have to kill our own community members which is against our religious principles.”

Conversion practices

Jehova’s Witnesses, who consider themselves of the Christian faith, are also known to indulge in conversion practices, a practice vehemently followed in Islam, too. “People may face new problems or situations that they must deal with, moving them to take an interest in the Bible’s message. So we endeavour to talk to people on more than one occasion,” a statement on the website of Jehova’s Witnesses reads.

Islam too openly preaches and practices conversion, stemming from Islamic concepts like Dar-ul-Islam. Several criminal incidents have taken place with the accused often attempting to convert the victim. This includes several recurring cases of love jihad or grooming jihad.

No other religion

Both Islam and Jehova’s Witnesses propagate that their respective gods do not approve of any other god and by extension, any other religion.

Jehova’s Witness website says, “No, all religions are not the same. The Bible contains many examples of religions that displease God. These fall into two basic categories. Category 1: Worshipping false gods. Category 2: Worshipping the true God in a way he does not approve.”

In fact, one of the reasons that they do not celebrate Christmas is because they believe it is “rooted in pagan traditions and rites”.

Islam too fundamentally believes that there is no other god but Allah and that those who follow any other god than Allah and any other religion than Islam are “kafirs”.

“Kafirs” means those who indulge in “kufr”. According to New Age Islam, an Islamic reformist organization, “The word Kufr means to reject faith in God, God’s signs, the prophets, the Holy Scriptures and the Day of Judgment. One who does not have faith in the unity of God and does not have faith also in other sacred signs of God is a Kafir, according to the Quran. One who rejects faith in God or does not have faith in God is called a Kafir. A Kafir may also be an idolater who worships gods and goddesses. According to the Quran, they are those who have gone astray. There are about 350 verses about Kufr and Kafir.”

It adds, “In the majority of the verses, Kufr is non-belief in one God and prophets of God and in Holy Scriptures. Kufr is also worship of idols and gods and goddesses other than God. In some of the verses, the word Kufr and its variations are used to mean ingratitude for the favours of God. It is natural that if someone does not recognize God or does not have faith in God, he will also not acknowledge God’s favours but will attribute the favours to his gods and goddesses.”

In May 2021, a petition was filed before the Madras High Court seeking protection for Hindu processions which were dubbed as “sins” by some local Muslims in the Perambalur district in Tamil Nadu. Several such Hindu processions have come under attack by Islamists with the most recent one being in Nuh in Haryana’s Mewat where at least five Hindus were butchered and several others injured.

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Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Journalist with a journey from print to TV to digital news. Multi-tasker. Unstoppable Type 1 Diabetic running on insulin.

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