13 Muslim families face social boycott for a Sunni-Mujahid marriage

via Pioneer News Service | Palakkad published on November 13, 2007

Kerala is a hundred per cent literate State, but there is no escape from the fact that social taboos and excommunication among the Muslims here are still a reality despite the high social consciousness the Malayalees claim to possess. Thirteen Muslim families in the rural Cherpulassery area in the district are going through the pangs of social alienation brought about by the orders of excommunication by the clergy for the past one year just because a boy from the Mujahid (Progressive) sect married a Sunni girl.

The family of Pallikkamthodi Khader, a Sunni sect member, and those of his relatives and friends who had participated in the marriage of his daughter Jubeiria with Mujahid youth Jaleel on November 6, 2006 have since then been living in total alienation in their Mappattukara village, as Sunni families stopped cooperating with them in all matters.

Khader says the villagers would not even give them water, shopkeepers refuse to sell essential commodities to these families, their children are not allowed to mingle with other kids in the village and no invitation for any function in the area would reach them.

Jaleel had married Jubeira without taking any dowry as Khader was financially very backward, and the Mahal committee of the local Sunni mosque had told Khader that the sect could not sanctify the function as it was being done in association with Mujhids, a sect which Sunnis see as their arch enemies. The marriage function was at an auditorium in nearby Koppam and the wedding of Jaleel’s sister was also held at the same place simultaneously.

“The Mahal committee had said that they would not participate in the programme as this was being done at a ‘Mujahid venue’. But we had not then expected this to grow into such a painful excommunication. After the marriage, the Mahal committee announced our social boycott, asking the other families to alienate us totally,” said the breadwinner of one of the thirteen excommunicated families.

“We will not get drinking water from a neighbouring house. No worker from the Sunni sect would come to work for us. Our children are isolated from others. We can’t even talk to others. It is painful. Thank God, nobody from our families died in the last one year. Otherwise we would not have even been allowed to bury the dead in the mosque’s Khabaristan,” he said.

The excommunicated families have now approached the State Human Rights Commission and which has asked the Circle Inspector of Police to hold a probe into the matter.

Sunnis consider Mujahids, who claim to be progressive, as enemies. Mujahids hold that man does not need an intermediary like clergy – they don’t agree to bringing even Prophet Muhammad into prayers – to pray to God whereas the Sunnis are of the belief that all kinds of prayers can have intermediaries. Studies show that Mujahids have progressed to a much higher level than people of the Sunni sect in areas like education and professionalism.

While Aboobacker Karakkunnu, former State president of the Ittihadu’s Subanul Mujahiddeen (ISM), the youth wing of Mujahid organisation Kerala Naduvatul Mujahiddeen (KNM), said he was surprised to learn that such practices still existed among Kerala Muslims, a Sunni sect leader, who did not want to be identified, said the reports about the excommunication were exaggerated. However, he did not deny the boycott, but the Mahal committee of the Mappattukara mosque said no such announcements had ever been made by them.

Muhammad Sultan, a Mujahid organisation worker and a journalist, said such excommunications and social boycotts were not unheard of in the interiors of Cherpulassery areas. He said his own family had faced the painful boycott decades back when they switched their belief from the Sunni edicts to Mujahid ways.

“But such restrictions would not succeed always because the Kerala society as a whole has grown much. If a Sunni does not give the victim water, there will be a Hindu or a Christian to do that. The same is true in the case of shops. But in areas like Cherpulassery, social boycotts can succeed, and I think the case of the families of Khader and others is one of that,” Sultan said.

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