Kochi: Congregations attending holy mass in churches belonging to the Syro-Malabar Church Sunday were startled to hear an official circular read out, purportedly to alert them to alleged cases of Christian girls being recruited by radical Islamic organizations, sources said here.
In the circular, Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, urged priests and laity to take serious note of Christian girls getting romantically lured by radical recruiters.
The circular did not use the term 'love jihad', which is a description frequently by Hindu right-wing groups and individuals.
Last week the synod of the Syro-Malabar Church had issued a statement saying that ‘love jihad’ was indeed a reality. Bishops of the church faced flak from some priests and sections of the laity for that statement.
The statement alleged that Christian women from Kerala were being lured into the Islamic State and used in terror-related activities.
In the circular read out in churches Sunday, Cardinal Alencherry expressed concern over growing incidents of inter-religious love affairs with intentions of endangering communal harmony and peace in society.
“It is a fact that such planned moves targeting Christian girls are happening," the circular said. It should be an 'eye-opener' to all priests and faithful, it added.
Through the circular, the Cardinal urged law enforcement agencies not to approach this as a religious issue but treat it as a terror issue or a law and order issue.
Sources said many of the churches under the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese did not read out the circular, as most of the priests in the diocese have differences of opinion over the recent ‘love jihad’ statement.
A priest of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese publicly came out against the statement, saying this was not the right time to raise the issue of inter-faith romantic liaisons when the nation is being polarised along religious lines.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPM, the Syro-Malabar Church, urging it to produce evidence of such recruitment in the state.
It alleged that the propaganda unleashed by the church would only help the RSS.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) welcomed the church statement.