By Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor, New Age Islam
In the following article translated from Urdu by Arman Neyazi of New Age Islam, the author Shakeel Rasheed laments the large-scale conversion of Muslims to Christianity. 20, 000 Muslims already have, though many seem to retain their Muslim names. He blames Christian evangelists for this and, like Muslims world over, accuses them of making use of immoral techniques, taking advantage of problems facing Muslims to covert them to Christianity. He doesn’t seem to be aware of the fact that Muslims leaving Islam in large numbers, not necessarily converting to Christianity, but becoming just ex-Muslims, is a worldwide trend.
Talking about the trend in Africa a prominent Islamic scholar of Libya Sheikh Ahmad Al Qataani told Al-Jazeera recently: “Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non-Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people.”
The Libyan Sheikh goes on: “When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000. … There are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.”
The stories which “Maulana” Mohammad Rahmatullah Mir Quasmi, administrator of a large madrasa in the Bandipura region of Kashmir told Mr. Rasheed of the spread of Christianity in the valley of Kashmir shocked the author. The “Maulana”, he reports, is fighting a lone battle against the Christian preachers of Kashmir.
But there is not the slightest hint of introspection among Muslims in Kashmir or elsewhere why Muslims are leaving Islam in droves. Most Muslims are just happy at the lie spread by Islamophibic media in the West that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world”. Muslim numbers may be growing in some countries due to immigration and large-scale reproduction among Muslims in a bid to perpetuate our poverty and illiteracy. The Islamophobes in the West, however, have their own agenda: spreading the fear of Islam. But Muslims and our media in particular love to lap up this lie and keep repeating this a thousand times, thus further spreading the Islamophobic lie.
Time we gave some serious thought to what is really going on in the world. Why are Muslims everywhere, not just in Kashmir or Africa, leaving Islam in droves is a question that should engage our minds, if Islam has to survive on this planet. Another question that needs to engage our minds is: does it matter to the world or Allah if the number of Muslims is diminishing. Is there any reason for us as a humanity to be worried? From all accounts Muslims are only as bad or good as other religious communities. If anything, we may actually be worse, judged from several social parameters of human behaviour as much as the parameters of taqwa that God set for us. God has promised that He will destroy Muslims and bring a better community on earth if Muslims fail to keep their covenant, so why should we as humans worry?
Kashmiri Muslims Embracing Christianity
By Shakeel Rasheed
(Translated from Urdu by Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam)
July 11, 2012
Sarwar Khan lives in Poonch area of Jammu and Kashmir. He embraced Christianity only because he had a strong feeling of other Muslims not coming forward to help him. He is infuriated when he feels neither any Muslim leader nor any wealthy Muslim of Kashmir comes to the rescue of poor Muslims of Kashmir. One day he incidentally meets a Christian preacher. The preacher talks to him sympathetically and helps him. They start meeting everyday and one day Sarwar Khan converts to Christianity.
Zaibunnisa (name changed) is a poor widow. Terrorists killed her husband. She had a son. He was also killed. This widow of Kashmir was snatched of her lone support. No help from any quarter came to her. Neither her neighbours took care of her nor the Muslim leaders of Kashmir who claim to be fighting for “Deen and Islam” ever took any notice of her plight. One day that poor widow came in contact with a Christian preacher who helped her financially and provided her free medical care. Thus she also embraced Christianity.
Sarwar Khan and Zaibunnisa are not the only ones who converted to Christianity from Islam. Some twenty thousand Muslims accepted Christianity as their religion in Kashmir valley since 1990, the beginning of terrorism. “Christianity Today” a magazine campaigning for Christianity had claimed in 2006 that fifteen thousand people in Kashmir have come under the banner of Christianity. During the last six years this number has increased further.
By chance I met Maulana Mohammad Rahmatullah Mir Quasmi in the Mumbai congregation of All India Muslim Personal Law Board who is administrator of a large Madrasa in the Bandipura region of Kashmir. Maulana Mohammad Rahmatullah Mir Quasmi is fighting a lone battle against the Christian preachers of Kashmir. The stories which he told me of the spread of Christianity in the valley of Kashmir are shocking.
Last year one such CD was brought in public which made the people infuriated. The said CD was filmed in a Church of a very sensitive and highly protected area of Srinagar. The CD was filmed during the month of Ramazan. It contained scenes of baptism. Muslim youths were shown taking a dive in a small reservoir and taking oath in front of a rabbi that they will follow the path shown by Hazrat Isa (as) (the path which has been closed after the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (saw). There are men and women with green flags in their hands. After the rites of baptism the rabbi prays, “May Christianity spread in Kashmir valley under the guidance of God.”
Yours faithfully has seen the said CD. The priest calls those Muslims, embracing Christianity with their Muslim names, such as Mohammad Yusuf, Ayub, Reyaz Ahmad, Idrees and Basheer etc. and as per the belief of triangulation asks them to take a dip in the reservoir after calling words of baptism like, “father God”, “son God”, “pious soul of God”.
Maulana Mohammad Rahmatullah Mir Quasmi says, “Investigation in the matter brought the fact to light that there is an organisation of the converted youngsters called “Khidmat e Khalq-ul-Allah Society”. Now, it is very obvious that no one can suspect this organisation bearing an Islamic name to be a Christian organisation established for the campaign of Christianity.” But the fact is that there are innumerable such missionaries and Churches in Kashmir bearing Islamic names which are working for the spread of Christianity in the valley, for example, Noor-e-Hayat Church, Al Bashar Fellowship and Al Majlis Jamaat Fellowship etc.
This campaign of religious conversion in Kashmir is being done in a systematic way. One can find missionaries from America, Germany, Netherland, Switzerland and Korea everywhere in the valley of Kashmir. Their style of working is very systematic. These are distributed in various sections with different responsibilities. For example, the missionary named ‘Campus Crusade to Christ is working in south Kashmir and it works only among the students. There is a group called ‘Frontier’ which campaigns for Christianity only among Kashmiri Gujars. ‘German Town Baptist Trust’ works among the poor villagers. A group called ‘Operation Gap’ works among those youth who have either surrendered from terrorism or are out of jails. Another group working in the villages is called ‘Assemblies of God’. In the same fashion groups ‘Al Bashar Mission’ and Gospel of Asia’ work in the border areas. Some of the groups have been mentioned here but there are hundreds of such groups which are busy in converting Muslims to Christianity and have made the valley of Kashmir their domain. They had started coming in 1990 when terrorism was taking roots. All these groups of missionaries are spread in Srinagar, Pulwama, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Kangan and other remote areas.
It is not that Kashmiri Muslims are not aware of missionaries’ works of ‘religious conversions’; they do express their shock and grief. On 15th September 2006 some infuriated people attacked a Christian school. In 2005 the administration had banned Christian missionaries after complaints of ‘religious conversion’. Some Christian aid and welfare organisations had come in the valley after the earthquake. Christian missionaries were also busy in their campaigns. Following their financial help some Muslims converted to Christianity. One of the greatest reasons for this is that state government and Muslim leaders have never raised their voice demanding ban on these Christian missionaries.
Maulana Mohammad Rahmatullah Mir Quasmi says there is not one such section of the society where these missionaries have not reached with their message of Christianity with beautiful words, like, peace, help, assistance, education, service, progress, irrigation, brotherhood, medical care, industry and art. Maulana further says, ‘some priests’ baptised young kids of standard seventh to tenth, in schools, orphanages and hostels, without their knowledge. These kids did not even know what ‘baptism’ is and how will it affect their Deen. These children now, after growing in years, understand what injustice has been meted out on them.
Factors that lead to Muslim Conversion to Christianity
The description Maulana Mohammad Rahmatullah Mir Quasmi has given in his booklet, “Kashmir Mein Irtedad ka Hadsaa”, are eye openers. He writes, “There is no doubt in it that all these situations are the result of our own making. People think religious conversion is only due to money power but that is not true. The greatest of all reasons is that Muslims are breaking away from Islamic rituals and customs. Lack of love for God, weakening connection with God’s prophet, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (saw), thought of the day of Judgement and the greatness of Islamic culture is fading day by day. And this is being misused by anti Islam Christian preachers, priests and their established NGOs and other social organisations. Muslims were appellants but alas they became invitees.”
Missionary schools are playing the most important role in the spread of Christianity in Kashmir. These schools are of two kinds. One, the schools established by Christian missionaries which include Baramulla’s St. Joseph Secondary School, Srinagar’s Barn Pal Secondary School, Convent School, Viscowa School and Malinson School. And those schools which are directly being run by the missionaries as Good Shefid Sonawar, Good Shefid School, Pulwama, Kashmir Valley School, Airport and St. Paul School, Sonawar etc.
Two, there are such schools which are directly not under missionary command but missionary school activities are fully in practice there. For example, Christian prayers which have chapters from Bible and signs of Cross are everywhere in use there. It is very open that if the child prays from Bible and sees Cross all day long his mind will be affected. These schools have churches with the statue of Mother Maryam and Cross. Children are encouraged to visit Churches. Christian preachers ask them to pray there during the days of examination. As a result, children get mentally affected by all these and start getting away from Deen and Islam.
It can be said that in the name of education, health and assistance people are being cheated. This preaching of Christianity can be called, ‘Preaching of Treachery’. This education of ‘treachery’ is in full swing in schools, medical centres and sewing centres.
A full generation is facing the threat of apostasy in Kashmir. The question is what to do in this situation? Maulana Mohammad Rahmatullah Mir Quasmi says that there is only one way out of it and that is that Ulema, scholars of Islam, Mashaikh, Islamic madrasas and social Islamic organisations create an Islamic atmosphere. Islamic institutions should be established in every nook and corner of the state. Welfare societies and organisations and groups should be run like well oiled machines. Parents should select such schools where children’s Islamic culture also gets refreshed every day with their education. School children must be imparted Diniyaat and Quran Pak lessons. Rich Muslims should establish modern educational institutions. Muslims must take care of their neighbours, strangers and relatives. People must help each other and should never violate others’ rights.
A little labour in this regard will bring God’s blessings and help. If corrective steps are not taken at the earliest, Kashmir will be called ‘a land of apostates’.
Source: Hamara Samaj, New Delhi, 11th July, 2012-07-16