Liberals would like us to believe that Hindu society is opposed to inter-faith marriages. However, the same set of people would turn a blind eye to Islamic bigots like Shabina Anis Qureshi, wife of Congress leader Anis Qureshi, who has been campaigning against genuine cases of inter-faith marriages.
Who are Shabina and Anis Qureshi?
Anis Qureshi is a Congress leader from Thane while his wife Shabina is said to be an ‘activist’. Shabina gained prominence on social media (SM) from mid-2021 after she began activism against inter-faith marriages in Mumbai metropolitan region.
She records the interactions with families of Muslim girls, Non-Muslim Boys and posts them on SM. She has become popular as the voice of Islamists against interfaith marriages. With her increased influence, she now receives complaints from UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat. She is being invited to various Muslim women’s gatherings to raise awareness against interfaith marriages. She provides legal help, as well as local Volunteers, support to face the issue.
As per her SM profile, she is the president of Help Line Women’s Association, Shabina ki Saheli, and Hifazat E Nasl. The latter two are activism groups. Her husband is the Secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) and earlier he held the post of the Chairman of MPCC Minority Department, Konkan Division.
Qureshi’s campaigns against inter-faith marriages
In one of her SM posts, she asks Muslim parents not to approach sites like shaadi.com or marriage bureaus to get their daughters married because of delays in marriages. In the same post, she has pointed out that she has dealt with four cases within two months where the Muslim girl has opted to get married to a non-Muslim groom.
Some of the ‘cases’ dealt by Qureshi this year have been listed below:
1) Mumbai (October 14): Shabina visited the family of a Muslim girl who was marrying outside the religion. In her video, Shabina says “Those who married non-Muslim girls are finding their lineage destroyed. In today’s case, I met a girl whose mother is a Hindu and the children haven’t been brought up in keeping with Islamic tenets. The girl’s father has passed away. Even though I questioned the girl and her brother about the apostasy they were committing, they said they didn’t believe in such things. It is necessary to stop Muslims from marrying outside the religion“.
2) Thane/Varanasi (October 15): A couple, Yasmin Sayyad (Thane) and Aniruddha Yadav (Varanasi), was to get married on 25 September 2021 and had published an online notice under the Special Marriage Act. Though the couple didn’t get married in Thane in September they eventually opted for court marriage at Varanasi on October 5.
Shabina put out a post that read “Shabina writes, we tried to search for her parents in Thane but we couldn’t. Maybe her parents came to know about her marriage and they might have stopped it. Our Volunteers were present on spot in Varanasi when the couple get married. We followed them; they were staying in a hotel. We were helpless as her parents were untraceable. Usually, we don’t publish the notice on SM but anybody has information about the whereabouts of her family, please let us know. We can still bring her back”.
3) Ahmedabad (October 17): A differently-abled Muslim bride had opted to marry a non-Muslim guy whom she had met through the Shaadi matrimonial website. Qureshi has claimed in her post that she had been informed by local volunteers that the family wasn’t very religious.
4) In a video posted by Shabina on October 12, can be heard threatening the family of the Hindu Boy. The Muslim Girl is divorced and both are neighbors. The girls family refused to stop the marriage, later Shabina threatened the Hindu family to stop the marriage following which the Hindu boy agreed to convert to Islam for the marriage. The girl was also present at the spot.
She even threatened to file a case against the boy. She says “do you think we will just our Muslim girls go astray? For us, answering Allah is above everything else. We care a damn for the ways of the world”.
5) Shabina with her local volunteers visited the home of a couple where the Muslim woman who is divorced is staying with a Hindu man (probably the man is also divorced). They have applied for registered marriage. She has children (not confirmed 2 or 4) from her first Muslim husband. Shabina was also accompanied by the Muslim woman’s parents. Shabina told the man to abandon her threatening that otherwise, it will be difficult for him to stay even in the Hindu majority area. The Muslim woman is a government servant and is against converting the Hindu Boy to Islam.
6) In another case, a Hindu man Akash from Sangamner (Ahmednagar) who stays in Navi Mumbai was in love with a Muslim woman and the couple applied for Court Marriage. The female’s brother approached Shabina who forced the girl to sign on marriage cancellation forms. When the boy attempted to contact the girl after cancellation, Shabina threatened him. It seems Shabina provoked the girl’s brother to such an extent that he is ready to kill the boy. At one point the boy had agreed to convert to Islam but Shabina refused saying such conversion doesn’t last long. She made his number public and appealed to Muslims to show him their power.
In a couple of cases, the families refused to give in to Shabina’s pressures. When Qureshi was unable to convince the family of a Muslim woman in Dahisar to change their decision, she attempted to threaten the Hindu man’s family. Similarly, the brother of a Muslim woman who had married outside the religion refused to give in to her pressures and instead threatened to file a complaint against Qureshi if she continued to harass the family.
Maulana Umarain Mehfuz Rehmani, General Secretary All India Muslim Personal Law Board, who had heard about Shabina’s work met Qureshi on October 8 ‘appreciated’ her work in ‘rescuing’ Muslim girls. She also addressed a gathering of Muslim women in Ahmedabad where she emphasized the need to prepare Muslim girls to fight against Irtidad (Apostacy). “We should avoid any act which is against Allah’s will”, she said.
It is amply clear from all the cases listed above that the couples are adults who are marrying with mutual consent. It must also be noted that there is no case of hidden identity, in other words, the Hindu men aren’t concealing their identity. Moreover, the marriages are taking place under the Special Marriages Act which doesn’t either change their religion.
In contrast, concerns about grooming are genuine. As we have often seen in cases of grooming, Muslim men assume fake Hindu identity to trap Hindu girls. It is probably too much to expect those brushing genuine Hindu concerns under the carpet, to stand up against the likes of Qureshi.