From Creeping Sharia:
Posted on February 5, 2012 by creeping
The sharia court in Muslim-majority Kashmir has no constitutional or legal authority. But its recent verdict ordering the expulsion of five Christians from the troubled Indian side of Kashmir has sent alarm bells ringing among Christians in India.
Apart from ordering the expulsion of the Christians, the court also directed the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take over the management of the Christian missionary schools besides monitoring their activities.
Those ordered to be expelled include Father Jim Borst of the Dutch Mill Hill Missionaries, who has been based in Kashmir since 1963.
“This is much more than conversion. It is humiliating and certainly threatening for us,” Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar told the Register Jan. 27, reacting to the verdict.
Srinagar is the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is nestled in the Himalayas.
On Jan. 19, the court ordered the expulsion of Father Borst, along with two Protestant pastors and their wives, accusing them of “luring the (Kashmir) valley Muslims to Christianity.”
The verdict focused more on Pastor Chander Mani Khanna of the Protestant All Saints Church at Srinagar and pronounced him guilty of conversion. The pastor of the Church of North India had been arrested in November by state police on the dubious charge of “fomenting communal trouble” after Muslim groups pressed charges against him. Though the civil court released him on bail, the sharia court went ahead with its own trial.
“Khanna and his associates have been found guilty of spreading communal disaffection and were involved in immoral activities. They are ordered to be expelled from the state,” deputy grand mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Nasir-ul-Islam, said Jan.19 while reading the verdict of the sharia court.
Father Borst, a well-known retreat preacher, runs the Good Shepherd School at Pulwama. The school had been partially burnt during widespread protests against the desecration of the Quran in the United States during the 9/11 anniversary in 2010.
Church leaders, Christians groups and Kashmiri Christians all have expressed alarm over the sharia court pronouncement and the subsequent Christian bashing in the local media, despite the Kashmir Valley having fewer than 400 Christians among 4 million Muslims.
“Kashmir Zealots Push Christians Into Valley of Fear” read the headline in The Times of India, the nation’s largest English daily, on Jan. 23.
The report said that even Juan Marcos Troia, an Argentinian football coach developing soccer in Kashmir and training local youth, is now facing the heat. State football association officials have questioned him about the funding for his clubs. While a whisper campaign is on against the “Christian” coach by Islamic fundamentalists, his house has already been vandalized.
“This is not a good development,” Bishop Elampassery said while on a visit to the Muslim heartland of Srinagar. “In the 1970s, they targeted Sikhs, and from 1980 they went after the Hindus. It looks like now they want to target us.”
In the entire Kashmir Valley, there are only about half a dozen churches, half a dozen Christian schools and a couple of Christian hospitals.
“What is going on there right now is the plan to scare away the remaining Christians from Kashmir. They want to make it an exclusive Muslim area,” asserted Predhuman Joseph Dhar, a Kashmiri Catholic from a Hindu background.
Dhar, a journalist, teacher and scholar who has translated the Bible into Kashmiri, recalled that he fled Kashmir with his family in January 1990 aftermosques across the Kashmir Valley began using their loudspeakers to order Hindus to leave the Muslim-majority region.
Subsequently, more than 400,000 Hindus in Kashmir fled the region to the Hindu-majority Jammu and other parts of India. Though he has been a Catholic since 1984, when his entire family of six embraced the Christian faith, Dhar too fled Kashmir.
“Right now there are only less than 100 Christians of Kashmiri origin in the valley. Others are migrant Christians,” pointed out Dhar.
Much more on the dire situation in Kashmir via An eye opening report on Persecution of Christians in Kashmir valley:
- All Christian schools are ordered to teach Islam and daily prayers written by Syed Mohammad Iqbal should also be sung in the morning, the Islamic authorities say. The Sharia Court also ordered that Muslims be placed on the managing committees of the Christian school and their opinions sought before acting.
- India will soon have a 100 percent Muslim Kashmir region, since returning back to their homes for the Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and now Christians is impossible, given no political will and hostile conditions. The government’s inaction both at the state and federal level is greater cause for worry, as Christians in the valley are left at the mercy of the fundamentalists and allowed to perish.
- Why is the government giving all its attention to the Kashmiri Islamists? The answer is: It’s not because they are Kashmiris; it is because they are they know the best way of getting you to listen is to threaten or use violence. Plant a few bombs, hijack the odd plane, mastermind a massacre or two, and suddenly, those in power will beat a path to your door. There will be negotiations, peace talks, and conciliatory proposals and finally, you will get some measure of “justice”, according to you.