Church’s concern over interfaith marriages in Kerala

    22-Apr-2022   
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Churches in Kerala have expressed concern about interfaith marriages, especially the marriages of Christian brides and Muslim grooms. Earlier, Kerala's top Christian leader had called it 'Love Jihad' and had opposed such marriages. The issue was once again raised after Kerala High Court rejected the habeas corpus plea of Joseph Thenmalayil, Father of Joisna Joseph. 

Love Jihad 
 
Joseph Thenmalayil opposed the marriage of his daughter Joisna Joseph with her Muslim lover MS Shejin. But Joisna Joseph submitted the affidavit and said to the Kerala High Court that she married MS Shejin by her own will. She also submitted that she is 26-year-old and they got married under the Special Marriage Act. As a result, Joseph Thenmalayil's writ petition was rejected. Habeas corpus is the writ provided under the Constitution of India in which if a person files a petition with the court because the person or relative wants to be brought before a judge where reasons of life threat. While filing the Habeas corpus, Joisna's father, Joseph Thenmalayil, alleged that his daughter was in the illegal custody of Shejin.
 
Eloped DYFI leader and lover surface, ex-MLA decries party man's conduct-  The New Indian Express 
 
After the Kerala High Court’s decision, the Deepika, the Malayalam daily run by the Catholic Church, raised serious concerns over the elopement of Joisna Joseph and MS Shejin. The editorial titled 'The Questions Raised by Kodanchery' in the daily said people should think about why some marriages were triggering controversies in a State where thousands of interfaith unions take place.
 
"It is not just Christians who raise concerns over interfaith marriages involving Muslim youths. All from the Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities should think about it. Else, innocent people in Muslim community will face accusations over the threat posed by Muslim extremist organisations," it said, adding, "Instead of threatening the family of Joisna in the name of secularism and religious harmony, mysteries surrounding the incident should be cleared."
 
Earlier, Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, Bishop of the Palai Diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala, triggered a major controversy on September 10, 2021, when he claimed the existence of 'narcotic jihad' in the State targeting young people belonging to non-Muslim faiths. He also alleged that young women belonging to Christianity and other non-Muslim faiths were being lured by 'jihadis' through 'love jihad' and subjected to exploitation, forced religious conversion and terrorist activities.
 
Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt – Multispecialty Hospital in Kottayam 
 
However, Muslim organizations have kept silence regarding this issue. Christian organizations have started spreading awareness within the community regarding interfaith marriages. However, Churches have welcomed the weddings where the non-Christian bride or groom embraced Christianity before marring the Christian bride or groom.