Grand Mufti takes a dig at Hurriyat leader Geelani



Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Sharia court headed by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin has defended its decree of expulsion of five Christian missionaries saying the issue of religious conversions was more important than any other issue.

In an apparent dig at hardline Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Grand Mufti in a statement said it was "unfortunate and intriguing" that criticism of the Sharia court decision was coming from people "who profess Islam as their faith".

Geelani had questioned the Sharia court's decree ordering expulsion of five Christian missionaries including Pastor CM Khanna, who is accused of converting Muslim youth through allurement and immoral activities.

"I am not surprised by what is being published by some reporters because of their prejudice and proclivities. What is unfortunate and intriguing is that such statements are coming from some members of the community which professes Islam as their faith," the Grand Mufti was quoted as saying in the statement issued by the court yesterday.

"This matter is not a political one nor of personal aggrandisement or publicity, but purely a matter of Islamic faith. It was agonising to note that some of our boys and girls were being converted to Christianity by unethical allurements and immoral inducements. I personally believe that this is a more important matter than any other public issue related to our community," the statement said.

The Grand Mufti said persons involved in converting Muslim boys and girls to Christianity by illegal and unethical means were expelled from the state in order to maintain amity and fraternal relations between communities and to avoid bad blood and unwarranted confrontation between them.

"It needs to be made clear that there is no ban on the functioning of missionary schools which have contributed a lot to the spread of education in the state. It is only the wrong doers who have been identified for action," he added.

He said people have to guard against the possibility of such mischievous elements succeeding in disturbing communal peace and harmony in the state.

"The need of the hour is to constantly monitor their conduct and activities. It is therefore the duty of the people and the state government to ensure that such mischievous elements are not allowed to indulge in nefarious activities anywhere in the state," the Grand Mufti added.

PTI