Campaign against ‘Islamophobia’ begins

Sectarian organisations fomenting communal divide in State: leader

The Kerala chapter of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) on Monday started a month-long campaign in the State to dispel the perceived Islamophobia in the State.

The JIH leaders said that the programme in each district was intended to remove the misunderstandings and perceived notions against Islam that had been surging for quite some time in the State.

“Unlike in other parts of the country, the Kerala society has been upholding pluralistic values with the coexistence of all religions. But now, Islamophobia has been spreading aimed at dividing people on religious lines,” P. Mujeeb Rahman, State general secretary, JIH Kerala, said.

The focus of the State-wide campaign was to make the public aware of Islam and to create a transparent dialogue among various groups. “The Sangh Parivar organisations have largely contributed to the Islamophobic attitudes in the State. So also, the immature outlook of several Christian groups has led to the situation,” he said.

In some instances, Mr. Rahman said, that even Left liberals had helped to create an anti-Muslim feeling in the public domain. “One method is, employing the prejudiced use of the term jihad in various contexts, from war-mongering to love jihad to narcotic jihad to land jihad. The objective of the campaign is to address these issues at district and local levels,” he said.

Islamic law, he said, prohibited forced religious conversion. “People should be aware of this, especially in the context of the fake narrative of love jihad. The Muslim community is not at all bothered about this false propaganda but it can foment a dangerous situation among religious communities,” Mr. Rahman said.

JIH State secretary Shaikh Muhammad Karakunnu said that the CPI(M) was also maintaining a stoic silence for political reasons. “Unfortunately, the State machinery has not dealt with the matter. Our aim is to bridge the gap which has been dividing the social and secular fabric of the State,” he said.

The JIH, he claimed, was in the forefront of maintaining communal amity through these campaigns. “We need to clear the misapprehensions about Islam. The participation of cultural leaders is also crucial. We had conceived the programme earlier but it had to be postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Karakunnu said.

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