As a controversy is brewing over a recent decree issued by the Sharia court in Srinagar, it is senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani who has come out in support of the Christian community.
On Saturday, Geelani remarked that it is the duty of every Muslim to protect members of minority community and said those raising "hue and cry” on conversion never “dared to raise their voice” during atrocities.
“We are not with the decision taken by the Sharia court to banish a few persons from the state for their alleged role in conversions," said Geelani, who is the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
"Banishing someone is no solution. As Muslims it is our responsibility to ensure that we reach-out to our youth and create awareness about Islam,” Geelani told media over phone from New Delhi.
Geelani dispelled the notion that Christians were unsafe in the Valley. “They are a part and parcel of our society and it is our duty to protect them," he said.
Recalling the contributions of Christians, he continued, "No Kashmiri can ignore the contributions of schools like Burn Hall, Biscoe and Convent in the education system of the Valley. Unfortunately we have not been able to build educational institutions like these despite having all the available resources."
He criticised the government-owned and controlled Wakf Board and asked "How many institutions have they (Wakf Board) established?”
“People who are raising hue and cry about conversion issue have never dared to raise their voice against the atrocities committed against the common people,” he said.
A Sharia court last week issued a decree seeking the expulsion of five Christian missionaries from the state.
The self-styled court also directed the state government to take over the management of Christian schools in J&K, besides monitoring church activities.
Those expelled by the court include pastor of All Saints Church C M Khanna and Dutch Mill Hill missioner Jim Borst.
A row had broken out in the Valley last year after video clips showing conversion of local youth to Christianity were uploaded on YouTube.
While Christians have squarely denied allegations of conversions by force or allurement, a full-fledged smear campaign is being carried out by vested interests to further scandalize the Church’s works.
Hurriyat leader speaks in support of Kashmir pastors
By: Dibin Samuel
Monday, 30 January 2012, 14:18 (IST)
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