A newly elected head of an Indian Islamic seminary, considered second in importance to al-Azhar in Egypt, is expected to quit soon because his liberal views have enraged a conservative lobby, which has the backing of an anti-American Pakistani cleric who allegedly helped create the Taliban in the 1990s.
The governing council of the Darul-Uloom Deoband seminary, which has a mass following amongst Muslims around the world, has formed a committee to look into the allegation that Vice Chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi defied the traditions of his predecessors.
Commonly referred to as Deoband, Dar-ul-Uloom is situated in Deoband town in northern India, around 100 miles from New Delhi. It is widely believed that Deoband brand of Sunni Islam inspired the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, which seminary’s leaders deny. more >>
NEW DELHI, India – The Indian government is expected to seek another adjournment – for the 19th time – in a case concerning affirmative action right of India’s 17 million “low caste” Christians scheduled to be heard on Thursday.
Briefing the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on Monday, government’s chief attorney Goolam Essaji Vahanvati said the issue posed many legal complications and currently “no decision was called for,” The Hindu daily reported.
Co-petitioner Franklin Caesar Thomas, a Dalit Christian, told Christian Post that many members of the Cabinet Committee, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, were in favor of their demand, but a few of them wanted to wait due to some apprehensions. more >>
NEW DELHI – A pastor in India’s Rajasthan state who was stripped, beaten and wounded by Hindu extremists earlier this month is still traumatized, while police have yet to investigate due to family fears of further violence, security and hospital officials said.
Pastor Hari Shankar Ninama, 65, was praying in a home in Ambarunda, Peepal Khoont, Pratapgarh district for an 8-year-old boy’s recovery from illness on Feb. 1 when at least 10 Hindu extremists arrived on motorbikes and stormed in, he said. The assailants beat him and, putting him on one of their motorbikes, took him outside the village, where they stripped off his clothes and struck him.
They fled after stealing his watch, cell phone and a small amount of money. more >>
NEW DELHI – The High Court of Madhya Pradesh, responding to a petition by the state Catholic Bishops Conference, directed the state government Wednesday to ensure the safety of Christians during a massive Hindu nationalist rally scheduled Thursday through Saturday in Mandla.
Organizers of the Maa Narmada Samajik Kumbh (Mother Narmada Social Kumbh, with “kumbh” literally meaning, “pot”) on the banks of the Narmada River hope to draw 2 million pilgrims to the event. Christian leaders said that the Kumbh is the latest in a series of anti-Christian propaganda events that Hindu nationalist organizations have held in recent years.
“We are worried about our safety and security, as our attempt to get adequate protection from the state government received a very cool response,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur. more >>
NEW DELHI – Christians in India’s southern state of Karnataka are preparing to file a court petition against a panel that blamed a series of anti-Christian attacks in 2008 on conversions from Hinduism.
In Mangalore, which bore the brunt of Hindu extremist attacks on churches in August-September 2008, Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of the Catholic Diocese said he intended to file a writ in the Karnataka High Court against the Justice B.K. Somashekhara Commission. In its Jan. 28 report on the violence, the commission absolved the state government, ruled by a Hindu nationalist party, of any responsibility in the violence.
Defending the state government and recommending the enactment of an “anti-conversion law,” the commission stated that an allegation of misuse of foreign funds for “mass conversions of innocent and helpless members of the society belonging to weaker sections ... is true.” more >>
Indian church activists have expressed deep concern over Hindu nationalists' anti-Christian campaign in the run-up to a major Hindu event next week.
A fact-finding team recently spent three days in the Mandla-Jabalpur region in Madhya Pradesh, central India, where a million people are expected to attend what is called the Narmada Samajik Kumbh, Feb. 10-12.
The team uncovered plans for “ghar wapsi” (homecoming celebration) or conversion of local Christians to Hinduism despite Madhya Pradesh’s Freedom of Religion Act which requires prior notice of such actions. They have solid reasons to fear an outbreak of violence against Christians during or after the event. more >>