10/06/2009, 00.00
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Love Jihad: luring girls online and forcing them to convert to Islam

The High Court of Kerala asks the state police and the Interior Minister in New Delhi to investigate the forced conversion campaign dubbed "Love Jihad" and "Romeo Jihad." Young people attracted by promises of marriage end up in the hands of Islamic organizations. It is feared that there are over 4 thousand cases. For the boys who act as bait there is a reward of 100 thousand rupees.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The High Court of Kerala has asked the state police and the Interior Minister in New Delhi to open an investigation into the so-called "Love Jihad" and "Romeo Jihad" operations planned by Muslim organizations that lure young girls with the promise of the soul mate and then force them to convert to Islam.

The request of the judge KT Sankaran has coincided with a Kerala court rejection of a request to release on bail of two young Muslim men accused of having deceived two schoolgirls from Pathanamthitta college. The suspects belong to the Campus Front, a Muslim student group, linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) a confederation of organizations of Islamic inspiration, also active in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The two students, originally from Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, testified in court that they were lured with promises of marriage and then held hostage in a centre in Malappuram. They say they were forced to watch videos and read books glorifying religious extremism.

The police in Kerala is concerned that the phenomenon may be widespread. The Muslims are the second largest religious community of the state after Hindus, accounting for 24% of the population, over 30 million people, and this gives a dense network of relationships that can facilitate the operations of priming and conversion.

The first clues to the story date to the beginning of 2009 when the police registered in over six months, almost 4 thousand conversions to Islam among girls who had had dealings with the network of Romeo Jihad.

The main instrument used for grooming is the Internet. The profile of young people involved is well defined: Hindu or Christian, a student in college or their first job, coming from wealthy families. The primers were precise: two weeks to verify the feasibility of converting the girl, six months for submission to real brainwashing. During their mission the young men are given cell phones, bikes and clothing needed to lure young women; if the conversion occurred 100 thousand rupees, about 1,400 Euros, as financial aid to start a business of their own.

The High Court of Kerala has demanded that the central authorities and those of the state also investigate funds that finance the two campaigns. To date, investigators have been able to discover that the money comes from abroad, probably from Middle East or the Arabian peninsula.

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