Church communique at Masses warns against ‘love jihad’ conversions

In Kerala, not all Syro-Malabar rite churches have followed the reading of the directive. The Indian bishops are concerned about the alleged conversions forcibly extracted from Christian girls, seduced and then radicalized in the Islamic "holy war".

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In Kerala, several Syro-Malabar Catholic churches have read a communique that invites the faithful to pay attention to the practice of forced conversions called "love jihad".

The directive was read yesterday during Sunday masses, despite the criticisms that have fallen on the Church for the choice to share their concerns on the issue of alleged conversions forcibly extracted from Christian girls, seduced and then radicalized. In fact, the practice is also one of the workhorses of the nationalist right.

The concerns of the ecclesiastical hierarchies were raised during the recent Plenary of the Syro-Malabar Synod, one of the three rites of the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI). The position of the bishops is animated by the intent to protect the Christian community, following the publication of investigations by the Indian police who arrested several Islamic radicals who had joined the fighters of the Islamic State. Of those arrested, half were Christian converts. For this reason the bishops share the data of the investigations and report that "the problem is real".

However, other churches of the same rite, especially in the diocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, have chosen not to publish the communique, signed by Card. George Alencherry, major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church.

The diocese in question is also the one where in recent months numerous demonstrations have taken place against the cardinal, at the center of a land scandal. An article published in Sathyadeepam, the diocese's weekly magazine, criticizes the Synod's choice to associate Islam with "love jihad" at a time when "the country is burning in the name of religious policies. It would be common sense not to throw petrol on the fire by denigrating any religion ”.

The reference is to the new citizenship law passed by the Indian Parliament last December. It excludes Muslim immigrants from the request for naturalization, while it includes six persecuted minorities (Hindus, Buddhists, Jainists, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis) in three neighboring countries with an Islamic majority (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh).

The Syro-Malabar Church and the Council of Catholic Bishops of Kerala (both bodies are chaired by Cardinal Alencherry), expressed favorable opinions on the law, while asking "to include illegal migrants of all religions".