Islamic groups in India are objecting to a Catholic bishop’s claim that Muslims are targeting Christians for romance to convert them in a so-called “love jihad.” Source: Crux.
Syro-Malabar Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt of Palai in the state of Kerala said the Catholic Church is “losing our young women.”
Christians make up nearly 20 per cent of Kerala’s population – they are only 2.3 per cent of India’s population as whole – and the state is considered a centre of Christianity in India. However, Muslims make just over a quarter of the population, and Hindu politicians have recently made “love jihad” a political issue.
Several states in India have passed laws effectively banning interfaith marriage after a campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party against “love jihad,” where Hindu hardline groups accuse Muslim men of converting Hindu women by marriage.
Although such laws are also used to prevent Christians from entering interfaith marriages, many Catholic leaders have been sympathetic to the complaints about Muslim men targeting non-Muslim women.
Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, convoked a commission into interfaith marriage last year.
Church law forbids interfaith marriages, but a dispensation can be given by Church authorities if the Catholic spouse promises to not abandon his/her faith and to raise their children Catholic. Without the proper dispensation, the marriage is considered invalid by the Catholic Church.
Although these dispensations are given out regularly in the West, they are often refused in India due to the perceived danger to the faith of the Catholic party.
Indian bishop warns Church is ‘losing young women’ to Muslim ‘love jihad’ (By Nirmala Carvalho, Crux)