Muslim religious leaders and scholars have dubbed as "false propaganda" the issue of 'love jihad' raised by BJP and other right wing outfits, saying that Islam does not allow forced conversions.
Taking strong exception to the campaign by saffron outfits on the issue, they stressed it was only an attempt to gain political mileage and the entire community "cannot be put in the dock" over a few incidents.
"Jihad is the movement launched for some good cause and anything such as love jihad is both unislamic and condemnable," member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangimahli told PTI, 'Love jihad' is a term coined by some Hindu groups for alleged efforts to get non-Muslim girls to convert to Islam through love affairs. The issue had come up during the state BJP's working committee meeting in Mathura this weekend but was dropped from the resolution at the last minute following allegations that the party was out to fan communalism.
Farangimahli and other scholars and religious leaders stressed that forced conversion are not acceptable in the eyes of Islam.
"There is no no movement such as love jihad being carried out by Muslims..., there had been a couple of incidents of conversion for marriage but the entire community cannot be put in the dock over them.... Love jihad is a wrong propaganda. We take it that this so called campaign is only to gain political mileage which would also weaken communal brotherhood in the country," Farangimahali said.
"We are against a Muslim girl or boy forcing a person of any other religion to convert for marriage .. This leads to negativity in marriage", he said.
Farangimahli's contentions also find support in the fatwas issued from time to time by the renowned Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband.
In separate fatwas issued on March 8, 2012 and March 22, 2012 to queries by different people, Deoband has said that embracing Islam only for marriage was wrong and it is better not to enter into such a matrimony.
Spokesman of All India Shia Personal law Board Yasoob Abbas said that there is nothing like "love jihad" anywhere.
"According to Islam, forced conversion is wrong and so if this has been done it is wrong," he said alleging that love jihad is a term coined by BJP which is out to gain political mileage on it.
Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Ahmed Bukhari said this "propaganda on love jihad" was not new and alleged VHP had earlier raised it with a design to tarnish the image of Muslims.
"BJP is trying to rake it up yet again," he said.
"In Islam, conversions either through force or compulsion is 'haraam'... It is only when a person accepts it from the heart that he is taken for a Muslim," he said adding that embracing Islam only for marriage is wrong.
The Imam said "this propaganda is a conspiracy aimed at spreading hatred and both Hindus and Muslims need to jointly oppose it".
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had welcomed BJP's step to raise the issue.
"This issue affects over one lakh girls every year in the country. VHP has saved over 10,000 girls after counselling in the past, and many of them got remarried with Hindu boys," VHP's senior functionary Vinayak Rao Deshpande had claimed.
He said there was a need to inculcate "Hindu" values in the youth and raise awareness on the issue.