Love Jihad in India

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The laws enacted in UP and other places denigrate Hindu women as foolish and dumb, as if they don’t have their own minds. Women should have the freedom to marry whoever they want. No government should have the right to tell a woman she falls in love with, whom she marries, what she eats, wears, or believes. We have to get beyond the primitive patriarchal society that wants to control women.

On my part, I will urge the Muslim organizations in India to send the message to the community that Islam forbids converting anyone by compulsions or deceit. It is simply not acceptable. If the woman, either Muslim or Hindu, wants to convert to other faiths, it should be her choice.

However, I urge all Indians not to poison their children against people of other castes, ethnicity, or faith. The poison will make their lives difficult when they grow up and have to commute on a train, bus, or uber, work with them in the same office. You will be screwing up their happiness and joy when they don’t trust the fellow worker, suspect the co-passenger, or resent the student who sits next to them.

In every group, you will find people violating the rules. Is there any group out there where few of its members don’t break society’s norms?

Muslims are no exception – Islam forbids, yes forbids compelling anyone to believe against their will.

It goes further and tells the women that if your husband forces you to do things other than your belief, you can walk out of the marriage; such is the importance given to free will.

A few Muslim men want their wives to convert to Islam for whatever logic they have, including peace in the family. The majority of Indians (all religions) live in joint families, and it may be necessary for conversion to minimize the tensions.

But it has to be with her free will. The woman should discuss these issues upfront and not get into a relationship that will force her to believe things against her will. It is a shame that many Indian husbands (Hindus, Muslims, and others) demand obedience from their wives and even threaten them to obey. How many Indian women are denied of living a happier life and live in oppression? The ultimate patriarch and control freak, Chief Minister Yogi, should pass laws to protect women and not denigrate them.

I counsel interfaith couples before marrying and ask them some 30 questions about free will. Of the 90 weddings I have officiated, about half of them involve Muslims and non-Muslims. I present them scenarios of conflicts and how that could breed resentment instead of harmony. The creator wants harmony in his creation, and it is he (she or it) who puts (GPS) love between two individuals. In almost all religions, they believe not even a blade of grass occurs without the creator’s will. If they have compatibility issues, they should not marry. Compatibility is the key to harmony and a happier marriage.

In the United States and Canada, religion is not an issue in general, as the couples don’t live in joint families and don’t have to compromise their free will. When they marry, they have a clear understanding of the conflicts and handle all the contingent issues.

Mike Ghouse

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