Love jihad: Muslims react with caution to UP ordinance

Muslims react with caution to UP govt's ordinance against conversion for marriage

Love jihad is a term coined by a section of Hindu groups for Muslim men allegedly forcing women to convert in the guise of love and marriage

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Credit: PTI Photo

With the Uttar Pradesh government clearing an ordinance to deal with religious conversion solely for marriage, Muslim leaders on Wednesday reacted with caution saying it should be ensured that it does not infringe upon the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

The state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Tuesday given its nod to the draft ordinance providing for jail up to 10 years and fine of Rs 50,000 for those violating its clauses.

“The good thing is that the new ordinance does not use the term ‘love jihad’ and the forced conversion which has been termed as illegal and punishable is something that is already held as crime in the Muslim law. In the Quran also, the Allah has said force in religion is not justified and so we have no objection to punishment over it,” senior member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Khalid Rashid Farangimahli told PTI.

Read: UP okays ordinance against 'love jihad', violators face up to 10 yrs in jail

Love jihad is a term coined by a section of Hindu groups for Muslim men allegedly forcing women to convert in the guise of love and marriage.

“We are of the opinion that for peace and communal harmony, it is needed that Muslims and Hindus marry in their own communities. We have no objection to whatever we have seen in the ordinance," Farangimahli said.

The AIMPLB member stressed that whenever any law is enacted, it is based on the intention that there would not be any discrimination with anyone.

“We also expect that this law will not be used wrongly. The legal expert will have to see that the law does not raise a question mark on the constitutional right to freedom of religion for all Indians. Otherwise, we have no objection to this law,” he said.

Shaista Amber, president, All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, however, said there was no need for such a law.

“If anyone is getting married on the basis of deceit and forcibly getting the other person converted, there should be a stringent law for it and we already have laws for it. There was no need to bring a new law,” she said.

Also read: 10 things to know about Uttar Pradesh's law on 'love jihad'

Stressing that there are laws to check deceit in marriage, Amber said if the government has decided to bring a new law, it should also be ensured that it is not misused and people’s right to freedom of expression is not harmed.

Another senior AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani reasoned if two adults get married, even if they belong to different castes, religions or even nations, their marriage is their private right.

The apex court has also accepted this fact, Jilani, also a senior counsel, said.

Muslim religious leader Sajid Rashidi, however, saw in it an attempt to polarise the society ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections.

“Law already exists against forced conversion, but since the elections to the West Bengal assembly are due there is a need to prepare a political ground and create hatred between Hindus and Muslims,” he alleged.