J&K Grand Mufti Summons Christian Priest Over ‘conversions’28 October 2011
Srinagar: The grand mufti (clergy) of Kashmir, Mufti Bashir-ud-din, on Friday issued summons to a Christian missionary, Reverend CM Khanna, asking him to appear before his court over alleged “conversion” of Muslims. The mufti, who heads the supreme court of Shiariat in Srinagar, asked Khanna of the Church of North India to present himself on November 12 and clarify on the “very sensitive issue”. “We have received a video that shows him converting Muslim boys and girls. So we had issued him summons to appear before the court today (Friday) but he did not turn up. Now we have issued him summons again and asked him to appear on the next hearing (November 12),” the mufti said. “The people have come to me seeking fatwa against him. But we have not issued it because we want to listen to him. We have asked him that communal harmony should not be disturbed,” he added. The grand mufti was neither appointed by the government, nor does he have any legal authority to issue fatwa or summons. However, the government recognizes him as the grand mufti. Denying any forced conversions, Khanna instead accused the office of the grand mufti of seeking favors by asking for admissions of a child in one of the missionary schools in Srinagar. “There is no forced conversion and there is nothing which can be called allurement. We do not offer any job or any money. We tell them ‘If you come it is your responsibility to contribute and support the church’,” Khanna said. “I was once a member of management (of the school). From this year I am not the member. They asked me for admission and I told them that I am not the one who is concerned with the school and they should contact the principal. They said the school has not given admission to the successful candidate,” he said. Khanna said five years ago the grand mufti had made similar charges against him. “The politicians are there and they can do anything… Islam is an evangelical religion so is Christianity. To propagate a faith is not crime. Our concern is not conversion. There are many people who are coming to listen to the word of God,” he said.