Criticism of fatwa on priests ‘unfortunate’: Kashmir Mufti

February 2nd, 2012 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Feb 2 (IANS) While not naming separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, Kashmir’s grand Mufti Thursday said it was “unfortunate and intriguing” that some Muslims had criticised the fatwa seeking expulsion of four Christian priests from Jammu and Kashmir.

A statement issued here by the deputy grand Mufti on the Mufti’s behalf Thursday said, “I am not surprised by what is being published by some reporters of the Indian media because of their prejudice and proclivities”.

In an oblique reference to Geelani who said seeking the expulsion of the priests was not the solution, the statement said, “What is unfortunate and intriguing is that such statements have come from those members of the society who profess Islam as their faith”.

Geelani had asserted that the local missionary schools had rendered great service in the field of education in Kashmir.

But the Mufti’s statement said, “There is no ban on the functioning of the missionary schools which have contributed a lot in the spread of education in the state. It is only the wrong-doers who have been identified for action.”

The local Sharia court last month issued a decree seeking the expulsion from the state of four Christian priests who were allegedly involved in the conversion of some local youths through financial allurements.

Despite the hardline posturing by the local Sharia court, what is encouraging is the fatwa has not evoked any public sentiment that could antagonise relations between members of the two communities in the valley.

Thousands of local Muslim children pursue their education in the four prominent Christian missionary schools in Kashmir.

One of the pioneers among these, the CMS Tyndale Biscoe Memorial School in Srinagar has over a century-old history of rendering Yeoman Service in the field of education here.

In fact, the autocratic government of the then Dogra Maharaja was prompted to start school education in Srinagar city in the 19th century only after the founder of the Christian missionary school started enrolment here in 1880.

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