Love Jihad – Mixing Love with Religious Conversion
Have you ever been on a date and had the thought cross your mind that to make the relationship work, one of you might have to do a lot of changing? Or have you ever tried to change your partner without them knowing it? This is happening in India right now in the most extreme way. Authors Rupam Jain Nair and Frank Jack Daniel investigate this new conversion tactic in their article ‘Love Jihad’ And Religious Conversion Polarize in Modi’s India, Reuters, September 4, 2014 (http://www.businessinsider.com/r-love-jihad-and-religious-conversion-polarize-in-modis-india-2014-9). ‘Love Jihad’ is one of the many ways that some Muslim groups are trying to convert Hindu women to Islam. By seducing the women, they are aiming to create a larger Muslim population. This is causing violence throughout the predominately Hindu country and raises new questions about religious conversion in general.
Currently India has a population of approximately 1.27 billion people and only one-fifth say that they are not Hindu. The non-Hindu population consists of primarily Christians and Muslims. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is a nationalist group whose main goal is to change India from its current status as officially a secular state to a Hindu nation. This movement gained a lot of momentum when Prime Minister Modi rose to power in May 2014. Modi’s political party, the BJP, is a nationalist, Hindu, right wing party. Interesting.
RSS linked groups have started anti ‘Love Jihad’ campaigns to stop their women from being forced into a faith that they do no really want to adopt. Violence is escalating and lawmakers are not doing their job to protect the non-Hindu population that is being effected. Instead, lawmakers are creating laws to stop forceful conversion – a law I agree with, but the violent death of non-Hindu citizens needs to be the priority! The key player of the RSS party is Rajeshwar Singh. He has been quoted saying that his goal is to make India a purely Hindu nation – one conversion at a time. Interesting that he sees the act of conversion as acceptable when it is converting to Hindu. Also interesting that an influential advocate and follower of Hinduism is not speaking out against the violence that his movement is causing.
Using conversion in order to gain political influence is a huge misuse of the power that religious conversion can hold. The use of political power to force out minority religious groups in a nation, although not a new practice, is also wrong and it is unbelievable that it still happens in 2015. Prime Minister Modi has a responsibility to all of the residents of India to ensure that their safety, basic freedoms and human rights are protected. As a global community we need to get the word out and make sure that religious conversion isn’t used for anything other than welcoming a new believer into a religious faith – whatever that faith may be.
Jihad Definition http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/beliefs/jihad_1.shtml