‘Kerala will be Islamic State in 20 years’

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on July 30, 2006

Christian leaders in Kerala are foreseeing the possibility of Muslims becoming the majority community in the State in the near future.

Syro-Malabar Church Ernakulam-Angamaly Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil has said that in 20 years from now, “Kerala will be becoming an Islamic State” if the present trends continue. The Christian spiritual leader, in a recent interview to a web-based pro-Christian magazine stated that the reason for the possibility of Hindus and Christians communities being overtaken by the Muslims population-wise was that the Hindus and Christians are not breeding as prolifically as the Muslims.

Agreeing with the argument that the present trend of birth-limitation by the Christians could lead to the disappearance of Catholics in the State, the Cardinal says that the Muslims are here in an advantageous position as they have “six-eight children” and also because “they can even have more than one wife”. Spread of education, contraception, collapse of the joint family system, assimilation of western culture are the points Cardinal Varkey sees as reasons for the fall in the population of Catholics in the State. He implies that such factors do not influence the Muslims among whom “girls, from an early age, are told that you must have eight children. More than eight children, it’s a special blessing of Allah.”

However, Cardinal Varkey is more worried about the fall in the population of Catholics in the State than the possible growth of the Muslims into the single largest community in near future. He estimates the Catholic population in Kerala at 16 percent as against the total Catholic population in the country of 1.8 percent. But the low rate of Christian and Hindu childbirths could lead to a situation where the Muslims may become the major community in the State in another 2 years. He says that Catholic doctrines from the West have influenced the Christians of Kerala and had led to contraception becoming common among them. He points out that people have no faith in natural family planning. However, this is not because they want to have more children, but on the contrary they don’t trust the method. “They don’t want to risk having a child through natural family planning,” he says.

The Christian leader also says that the expense of educating children is yet another reason for limiting the number of kids to two in Kerala. However, Cardinal Varkey indicates that the church is trying to see whether the numbers can be improved. “We have declared that this will be a year of the family. Now there is an all-out effort to save the family, which is the basic unit of the church and of society…. (as to) Whether we will have more children, I have my doubts because now often husband and wife are working,” the Major Archbishop says. Cardinal Varkey, who says that Hindus too have not been prolific with regard to population, indicates that in general, the Indian Hindus hate the idea of limiting population. He claims that it was not any political reason that led to the electoral defeat of Indira Gandhi after the Emergency but her son Sanjay Gandhi’s efforts at compulsory sterilization had led to the poll debacle. “She was very popular. But when they (people) heard that sterilization was being encouraged (by her / her son), they voted against her….. I don’t know whether the world knows it. Can you imagine throwing out a lady just because of sterilization?… Toda Sonia Gandhi does not speak much about it,” says the Major Archbishop.

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