Srinagar: Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani Tuesday locked horns with the local Sharia board over a fatwa seeking expulsion of four Christian priests from the Kashmir Valley.
Geelani, a Hurriyat leader, said in a statement from New Delhi: "Muslims should protect their religion themselves. Expelling somebody from Kashmir is no solution.
"Kashmiris cannot ignore the contributions of Christian missionary schools towards the educational system in the Valley.
"Unfortunately, Muslims have not been able to build an educational institution like those by the Christian missionary schools despite all available resources."
The local Sharia court had Jan 19 issued a decree seeking the expulsion of four priests from the state who were allegedly involved in converting some local youth to Christianity through financial allurement.
The decree had also demanded that a prayer written by Urdu poet Iqbal should be compulsorily recited at the morning assemblies by all Christian missionary schools in the Valley.