ISIS recruitment? Kerala HC cancels marriage between Hindu girl, Muslim man

The Kerala High Court declared a marriage conducted by a qazi between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman null and void after the woman’s father alleged that his daughter has been recruited by Islamic State’s (IS) mission in Syria. He filed a Habeas Corpus petition and alleged that two Muslim sisters, who were her roommates, converted her to Islam and took her to Sathya Sarani, a Muslim organisation in Manjeri, Malappuram, and has detained her illegally. Considering the petition, the high court had directed the state police chief in August to ensure that the woman is not taken out of the country without the court’s permission.

The division bench held that important decisions such as marriage in a woman’s life can only be taken with the active involvement of her parents.

Akhila’s father, who was petitioner in the case, had alleged that his daughter was converted to Islam as a strategy to recruit her for the Islamic State. The girl’s father, Asokhan, argued that she was being brainwashed and plans were afoot to send her to Syria to fight for the ISIS. The court verdict also said that investigation should also be carried out about the activities of Sathyasarani, a renowned Islamic educational institution at Manjeri regarding conversion of religion.

But the court in its judgment said that the marriage was done by strangers and her parents did not participate in the function.

The court made the declaration and granted custody of the woman to her parents when a habeas corpus petition filed by K.M. Ashokan of Kottayam came up for hearing. Akhila had earlier told the court her decision to embrace Islam was her own.

While the case was in still in the court, Hadiya met Shafin Jahan from Kollam district through a matrimonial site and they got married on 19 December 2016. The court also ordered that the investigation should be undertaken with immediate effect and that people should be brought before law if any breach of law was found. The court had asked the government to conduct a detailed enquiry into the marriage of the woman and to let the woman stay at the hostel in Ernakulam.

This was followed by the girl’s father filing a missing person report.

However, under Islamic law, a girl can not be released “on her own”, but must be released under the custody of either her father or husband.

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