At a time when inter-religious marriages are becoming a subject of heated debate in Kerala, worshippers at a mosque in Malappuram district are going against a social boycott called against a family for conducting such a marriage.
On October 19, the secretary of the Madarul Islam Sangham’s Mahallu committee (the mosque’s administrative committee) issued a special circular urging all people connected with the mosque to break off all contact with Kunnummal Yusuf and his family.
The family’s ‘crime’ – they had agreed to Yusuf’s daughter’s choice of a partner outside her religion. "Since Kunnummal Yusuf has agreed to his daughter's wedding to a non-Muslim, we have decided that people need not cooperate with his family, neither for mosque-related affairs, nor for other matters," reads the one-page circular printed in Malayalam.
While this is not the first time mahallu committees attached to mosques have issued such circulars calling for social boycott, what is heartening in this case is that community members refused to heed the boycott call.
On October 20, Yusuf’s daughter, 26-year-old Jaseela married Tiso Tomy, a Christian, under the Special Marriages Act. A day later, the family held a reception ceremony in Perinthalmanna, and hundreds of people from the neighbourhood participated enthusiastically in it.
Interestingly, the reception was bereft of any religious symbols, since the wedding was not conducted based on the religious customs of either the groom or the bride.
Jaseela's uncle Rasheed took to Facebook to announce the news of the wedding and the well-attended reception in a post that is being widely shared on the social network.
"She has all the right to marry a person of her choice. Jaseela's and Tiso's wedding is not the first inter-religious marriage. Can the mosque stop the changing tides of time?" Rasheed wrote.
Speaking to TNM, Rasheed also said that the Mahallu committee's decision was taken only by certain section of members of the committee and does not reflect the overall sentiment of the people.