Yes – I was a victim of it and saw my ex husband and imam probing others to do it.
I’m going to go anonymous because I am constantly being stalked and harassed by my ex in-laws family whenever they find a way to contact me. I’ll also be writing everything in English rather than writing the Gujarati and English translation.
I can guarantee you Love Jihad is a thing. I am a Hindu revert from a liberal Hindu family from Gujarat. I was 18 when I met my ex-husband, let’s just call him Iqbal.
When I met Iqbal he was the kindest and most liberal minded person I had ever met. As I learnt more about him, he told me that he had denounced Islam and didn’t adhere to any religion and that he respected Hinduism a lot.
Although I came from a fairly liberal background which taught me not to hold my prejudices against people, I always still had a little doubt about Islam, due to knowing practices of theirs such as Taqiyya.
I carried on getting to know him, however refrained from gaining attraction to him. What was noticeable however was that he always used to mock Islam, he used to drink, smoke weed and was your typical rebel who didn’t even fast during ramadan. From this, I started to believe that he truly didn’t believe in his birth religion and that he is someone that I could grow on.
Time went on until where we properly established our relationship at 19 as best friends. He used to treat me like a princess and he was basically like my dream husband. This friendship turned into love and that gradually brought me to the point where I thought it was the right time to introduce him to my family. Although liberal; my family are still practicing Hindus, probably more so well versed and practiced than people that march for Hinduism. They still had a little hostility towards Islam. Regardless, after introducing him and explaining that he was perfect for me, a non practicing Muslim and more so a person that appreciated Hinduism, my family approved of our relationship with delight. I went to his house and the same happened at his. His family seemed amazing and liberal and they also looked like they were accepting of my Hindu background.
A couple years of dating and hip hip hooray! I fell so deep in love with him that I asked him if he wanted to get married. He said sure, but on one condition, the condition was that I had to convert to Islam in front of his extended family, because they are more Orthodox Muslims, but it wouldn’t mean that I would have to practice it. Why not I thought? I can do that much for a man I love… besides, he isn’t going to make me practice it anyway and the beauty of our Dharma is that we accept all religions, so in theory, it didn’t really mean much. So I did it, both families agreed to the marriage and we did the conversion (I explained to my family what he told me and due to our naivety, we all fell for it).
Lots of stuff happens in between my conversion (where I had to pretend I openly accepted Islam, which I didn’t) and marriage where we had a traditional Islamic wedding. One thing was strange however, the wedding was rather grand! It must have cost around 2 crore, although him and his family were quite poor, and my family which are middle/upper class didn’t pay anything into the wedding. Looking back on it, I think the mosque paid for the wedding since neither of us would have been able to spend that much
The wedding happened and it was time to go to my in laws. Everything was fine… for one week.
His family came off as pretty liberal and in that, allowed me to have a little mandir in their house which is the first thing I presented to my parents to clear their floating doubts about the authenticity of the conversion.
One day, I was doing my morning darshan which is interrupted by my in laws. They barge into the room and exclaim, ‘We are going to Mosque, we pray religiously in this house. From now on please wear this (Burkha) otherwise we will be looked down on in the community’. I was shocked. I went to Iqbal and told him what had just happened. He didn’t look shaken at all – he just looked at me and said, ‘what are you waiting for? Religion is important to mum, just do it for her’. Although I didn’t want to, out of sheer love for my husband, I did.
We went to the Mosque and I was left with my mother in law. It was horrible, she made me adhere to strict rules and forced me to pray ‘properly’. I did however think… I can cope with this for my husband.
Things carry on as usual. I am continually forced to go to the Mosque with a Muslim appearance and am treated like utter sh** by my mother in law and to some extent, father in law. Iqbal keeps on justifying it with, ‘you don’t have to mean it, just do it for my sake and for theirs’, which I do.
Happy News! I’m pregnant. We decide not to tell Iqbals parents just yet, keeping in cultural customs of not telling anyone for at least 12 weeks into pregnancy.
12 weeks have gone by since the wedding and my pregnancy – we finally tell Iqbal’s parents who are really happy. I am happy as well, so obviously, as it is I carrying to children, I wanted to tell my parents. ‘No – You’re not allowed’.
Why? – Iqbal wanted to keep it quiet. As my mum and dad are well known in the community and there is still stigma around my marriage, he made it seem like a good idea not to tell them.
Week 20 – When it all makes sense
My parents notice the obvious change in my body and they ask if I am okay. I tell them that I am pregnant. They are delighted, and for it, do a pooja at home for my good health, alongside giving me aryuvedic tips etc on how to make sure the birth of the baby is better.
When I go back home, my in laws are clearly not happy with me telling them the news that my parents know. I just brush it off however and carry on with my life. I told Iqbal when he got home and guess what? He slapped me.
He justifies it with: ‘Imagine what is going to happen to your parents when they start telling people you are pregnant, they will be shamed because you have converted to Islam (which I thought was fake to please his family), and you are now going to have Muslim children (which I also thought wasn’t going to happen)’
He ran into our bedroom and locked the door, all I hear is smashing of things. This carries on for about 10 minutes. The room is trashed and guess what else, my mandir, scattered across the room, pictures of Hindu gods ripped. Replaced where my mandir used to be is the Quran. I went mental, so guess what he did, he hit me again. He then said, ‘read the Quran – you’ll need to know it for when we have our child’. I was devastated. To this very day I haven’t touched that Quran, I didn’t want to know about it, I thought this relationship was open minded where I could practice my own religion and he could practice ‘his’.
He refuses me to eat aryuvedic medicine created for easing the pains etc of childbirth and instead told me to cook meat (knowing I was a strict vegetarian) and eat that. He went out, taking the gas canister and giving it to his mum before he left, and about half an hour later comes back with a lump of mutton. I looked at him in shock. He stood watching me in the kitchen after placing this bag of dead animal in front of me and said, ‘don’t come out until you have made something with this’. In disgust, I made a curry which I didn’t know really how to make, since of course, I’ve never cooked meat.
He tried it and hated it.
This is where he abused me. He grabbed me by my face, with his parents watching and not saying anything, and forces me into eating the meat. He puts it in his hand and smothers it across my face and into my mouth. I was physically sick afterwards.
It becomes clear that I am not allowed to talk to my parents anymore, not allowed to pray anymore (unless we are at the Mosque) and I am also not allowed to talk to my friends. I am now just a housewife, used for cooking, cleaning, sex who is forced to listen to the likes of Zakir Naik.
Week 35 – Proving Love Jihad
This is one of the last times I go the Mosque before my childbirth due to the pain and sickness, also caused because of this newfound food that I am forced to eat, also known as dead animals. Things settle down in terms of the violence, probably due to him wanting the child desperately.
At the Mosque the imam comes over and asks about my pregnancy, I talk to him about it saying that I am struggling and hope it will be a good childbirth.
This is where I get shocked. He calls a load of Muslim men to come and speak to me, Iqbal is in that crowd. He says to them, ‘Look, another revert – Iqbals wife, now having children which will be blessed to be born into Islam. Take Iqbal as a prime example that reverting the Hindus to Islam in India is possible – don’t be afraid of anyone or anything. Just like I told Iqbal when he was speaking to [my name] and was talking to me about converting her to Islam, be with Hindu women and show them the true path to God. Have children with them like Iqbal has and India will sooner or later be another blessed country at the mercy of Allah.’
I am shocked. This is when it kicks in that I have been part of a huge game.
I finally have my child which isn’t given any Hindu type name whatsoever. You wouldn’t even know that his mother, me, is a Hindu. The name given to him was completely Arab Islamic. I am forced further into Islam and am told to start reading him stories of the Prophet as bedtimes stories to him.
I am now desperate at this point to go back to my parents house. Having such little connection with them, they were the last people to know that my child was born, a boy that they weren’t allowed to see at the hands of my husband, Iqbal, who at this point has taken Islam in full force, praying five times a day and reciting the Quran and reading the Hadeeths.
I couldn’t deal with it anymore. Constant abuse, my parents weren’t allowed to see my child and my child was also being brought up as a Muslim without any knowledge of my religion. Singing bhajans or doing anything that was Hindu was forbidden.
A few weeks after having my child I sneaked out of the house and went to my parents. They were happy in seeing my child but could see that I clearly wasn’t. I showed them the marks of my abuse and explained to them how Iqbal and his family have changed so much and how they are forcing me and my child into Islam.
Next thing you know – my door is being slammed. Literally banged to the point that you could probably hear the noise from far away. It’s Iqbal. We call the police nd he is escorted away. I had to explain everything to them but they didn’t have a case against him, so he was released.
Abuse after abuse. I settled at my parents house but we got constant threats etc from his family. It was awful and I don’t even like thinking about it.
Lots happened after this but it’s too much to do into. What I do know however is that I was a victim of Love Jihad. It exists, even if the Mosque doesn’t pay cash, they are probably paying for the wedding. Muslims in the Mosque are taught to be with people from other faiths to ‘guide them (((back))) to Islam’ and women that are tricked are subjected to abuse and torment.
How do we stop Love Jihad? Stop turning a blind eye to it. The typical liberal in me said, ‘Love Jihad is bull****’ and I went ahead and got with a Muslim man, so did many of my other Hindu girlfriends who faced similar lifestyles to mine.
Out of the 18 Hindu Girls that married Muslim men, I can say that all but one is divorced and we now have a total of 61 kids between us. The one that isn’t divorced embraced Islam and has 5 children who are all brought up as strict Muslims who aren’t allowed to have any interaction with their mums side of the family.
Lucky for me, I managed to escape, but still face so many issues even today. Believe it is happening, because it is. Turning a blind eye to it isn’t going to solve anything.
SatyaVijayi doesn’t verify the authenticity of this Quora article