In connection with the recently converted Buddhist woman's marriage with a Muslim man, President Anjuman Jamiat-e-Ulema, Islamia School Kargil, Shiekh Nazirul Mehdi Mohammadi has written a letter to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. He was reacting to Ladakh Buddhist Association's (LBA) ultimatum to Muslims in Leh and alleged threat of communal unrest in Ladakh.
In his letter, Seikh Nazir has sought intervention of the Chief Minister and demanded safety and security of the Muslim community in Leh.
"Your attention is urgently invited to interfere in the matter in light of apprehension of law and order problem to be created by LBA in the whole Ladakh region," the letter reads.
About the converted girl Shifa (previous name Stanzin Saldon), he writes, "She embraced Islam by her faith and trust and the doors of Islam are open for all without any disparity."
The tension was sparked in Ladakh region after the marriage of the converted girl with a Muslim man. The Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) has written to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, asking for annulment of the marriage between 30 year old Shifa of Leh and 32 year old Murtaza Aga of Kargil. The woman converted to Islam in 2015. She married Aga, an engineer, last year.
In a court affidavit last year in Karnataka, where Shifa was staying then, she declared that on April 22, 2015, she converted to Islam and on April 28, 2016, she changed her name to Shifa from Stanzin. "I am affirming my new Islamic faith in healthy and sound mind without any threat, force or compulsion or coercion from any person or persons, whatsoever," the affidavit said.
In another affidavit, Shifa said on July 7, 2016, she got married to Syed Murtaza Aga, out of her "own free will and consent". She declared that she was not "induced or abducted" by her husband and was not under wrongful confinement.
When tensions rose, the couple approached the J&K high court and in an order dated July 28, it observed that during the case, the "petitioners shall not be harassed".
The girl accused LBA of issuing false statements and presenting a concocted version of the events.
"They (LBA) state that I was lured into Islam by him and also warning Muslim community in Ladakh (in general) to return me. So this is to clarify to your honourable self and the concerned parties that this statement of LBA is false and concocted, an effort to suppress and threaten the rights of an individual, a woman to be more specific, in the disguise of "luring"," she wrote.
She further wrote, "LBA is trying to objectify me and demanding my return as if I'm a property, which I'm not and cannot allow anyone to perceive me as such. I've accepted Islam long way back, not because I dislike any other religion but considering my spiritual quest and an interest in religious philosophies, which was way before I met Murtaza. I repeat, my marriage has nothing to do with my spiritual choices, love and companionship being the only reason for our marital bond. The spiritual choice is a very personal matter not to be mixed with my marriage," she added.
She requested people to maintain peace and harmony by not letting dividing forces to deepen the fear and hatred.