Self-styled chief justice of Kashmir sharia court Mufti Bashiruddin, also mufti azam (grand priest), on Thursday toned down his language after his earlier fatwa (decree) against four pastors for converting Muslims allegedly through monetary allurement.
"I urge all those who disagree with the expulsion of wrong-doers for their misdeeds to suggest what else could be done in the circumstances, keeping in view larger interests of the faith, peace and order in the state," said the joint statement issued by the grand mufti and his son Nasirul Islam, who is deputy mufti of the sharia court.
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and civil society members censured the Sharia court's decree banning entry of Christian pastors into Kashmir recently, terming it "wrong move" and questioned the functioning of sharia court. "It was agonising to see boys and girls being converted to Christianity by unethical allurements and immoral inducements...Everyone has a right to criticise any individual or his actions but one cannot do so if such criticism encourages blasphemy and irreverent references to prophet Muhammad," said Islam.
Bashiruddin, however, is not happy with the media reportage. "A series of sensational stories in print media compel me to rebut and refute allegations made by some unknown individuals of the so-called civil society. What is unfortunate and intriguing is that such statements are coming from some members of the community, who profess Islam as their faith," he said.
The self-styled Sharia court head, however, clarified that it did not impose any ban on functioning of missionary schools. "These schools have contributed a lot to spread education in the state. It is only the wrong-doers who have been identified for action. The need of hour is to constantly monitor their conduct and activities," said the statement.
In an attempt to strike a chord with the common man on the street, the statement said "In no way we undermine or underestimate the sacrifices made by the people, especially the youth over the years. His stand needs no endorsement by any individual, political party or the state administration," it said.
The statement came in response to Geelani's accusation that the mufti has been silent on human rights abuses issues and the Kashmir problem in the past.
The court, however, did not take back its earlier fatwa against the four pastors.