Love Jihad — The Kerala Story

Love Jihad — The Kerala Story

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The Kerala Story is a poignant, evocative, and deeply disturbing story of “love jihad” where radicalized Muslims systematically target, seduce, convert, and sexually enslave Hindu and Christian girls. In the last decade alone, it is claimed that over 30,000 girls in Kerala have fallen victim to “love jihad”. Of these, several dozen girls have been trafficked to Syria to become sex slaves of ISIS terrorists.

What is “love jihad”? It has nothing to do with love. It is simply a euphemism for the religiously sanctioned conquest of non-Muslim women by Muslim men. In several cases such as the ones portrayed in this movie, it descends into the vilest forms of sexual abuse and rape of defenseless women. An incredulous reader may wonder whether “love jihad” is even real. Is it a fiction invented by Islamophobes? Love jihad, including the rape and sexual slavery of non-Muslim women by Muslim men, is not only real but is also central to Islamic teachings and the Quran advocates it quite explicitly. So, while the term “love jihad” is of recent Indian origin, the phenomenon, in its variant forms, has been prevalent in other parts of the world that have come into contact with radical Islam. Only the exact methods used vary depending on the context.

The British Home Secretary Suella Braverman recently disclosed that vulnerable white girls have been victims of the same phenomenon in which the perpetrators were all British Muslim men of Pakistani origin. Many of those girls too were systematically brainwashed and ended up as sex slaves of ISIS terrorists. In 2021, The New York Times reported that over 6,000 Yazidi women and girls were captured and sold to ISIS terrorists. Those defenseless women and girls were “treated as disposable property, repeatedly raped, traded and sold at will.” Many Yazidi girls would be rescued after months of being subjected to rape and would narrate their ordeals on camera. In 2017, The Guardian reported that when the ISIS besieged Sinjar in Iraq, “they were looking for unmarried (Yazidi) women and girls over eight.” Over eight? That was not a coincidence, was it? Many conservative imams and Islamic preachers such as Imam Yasir Qadhi and Zakir Naik have vehemently argued, by citing their interpretation of Islamic sources, that the prophet Muhammad married Ayesha when she was six and consummated the marriage when she was nine, i.e., just “over eight.” Imam Yasir Qadhi is a highly respected Islamic cleric and author who was trained in Medina and at Yale University. He is very much respected for his scholarship of Islam although he happens to be highly conservative. He is the author of many books on Islam and is known for his lectures on Islam. Zakir Naik is far more controversial than Yasir Qadhi and nowhere near as scholarly as the latter. However, both command a huge following among radicalized Islamists. Listen to their arguments, here and here, that the Prophet Muhammad, then in his mid-fifties, consummated his marriage with Ayesha, who was then nine. Both vehemently defend the historicity of the report of consummation. We cannot weigh in on such episodes with any historical certitude. Besides, some are not even convinced that a historical Muhammad even existed: refer to Robert Spencer’s bookDid Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins”. One’s personal convictions notwithstanding, it cannot be denied that Yasir Qadhi and Zakir Naik have a huge influence on radicalized Muslims and ISIS followers. Since, Islam requires Muslims to emulate the conduct of Muhammad (Quran 33:21), and the narratives of the likes of Yasir Qadhi and Zakir Naik influence the racialized section of Muslims, it should come as no surprise that the ISIS terrorists targeted girls “over eight” for rape. In any case, the phenomenon of radicalized Muslims targeting, seducing, converting, and then treating non-Muslim women as sex slaves is nothing new. It is a global phenomenon. The Kerala Story merely happens to be the first movie to be made on that phenomenon with a specific focus on how the phenomenon unfolds in India.

Here, it would suffice to mention that the ISIS terrorists, who raped Yazidi girls, explicitly called it an Islamic religious duty. A 15-year-old Yazidi girl, who was captured and sold as sex slave to a 20-year-old ISIS terrorist reported that “Every time that he came to rape me, he would pray. He kept telling me this is ibadah (an Islamic scriptural term meaning worship)”. Hers is not an isolated case and is a representative sample of a pervasive and systematic pattern of ritualized halal rape. Another 22-year-old Yazidi girl would testify that her rapist informed her that “a captured woman will become Muslim if 10 ISIS terrorists raped her”. She was thus systematically raped and then sold off to the eleventh rapist. Love jihad uses every tool including indoctrination, intimidation, seduction, abduction, enslavement, rape, and trafficking of non-Muslim women, who are to be first dehumanized and then forced to become Muslims.

Lest one should think that the capture, ransoming, and sexual subjugation of kafir women is an ISIS novelty we can recount the well-known episode of Juwayriya bint Harith. According to Islamic sources, she was captured in a battle and distributed to a jihadi as his share of war booty. The distinguished scholar Ali Dashti, in Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, as well as Sahih Bukhari in Volume 3, Book 46, Hadith #717 — Book of Maghazi under the section titled “The Battle of Muraisi,” report that she was ransomed for 400 dirham which she could not pay. She appealed to Muhammad to lower the price. Muhammad’s favorite wife Ayesha, who was present at the scene, says, “Juwayriya was so beautiful and charming that anyone who caught sight of her was captivated…. I felt worried because I was sure that Muhammad would be carried away as soon as his eye fell on her. And so he was.” Muhammad would pay off the ransom money and take Juwayriya as one of his wives. So, evidently, the ISIS terrorists were following a radicalized, literal, and extreme interpretation of Islamic tradition in the way they treated defenseless Yazidi women.

The Kerala Story begins with the ill-fated journey of three girls, two of whom are Hindu and one Christian, to a college in the Muslim-dominated Kasaragod District in Kerala. Unbeknownst to them, the journey would turn out to be nightmarish. The Christian girl, Nimah Matthews, is marginally Christian, whereas the two Hindu girls, Shalini and Gitanjali, are hardly informed of and observant of Hinduism. All three fall prey to Islamic indoctrination by Asifa, a fanatical hijab-clad Muslim woman and ISIS mole.

Asifa’s methods of indoctrination follow those employed by such other Muslim preachers as Zakir Naik. She scares the three non-Muslim girls about the fate that awaits them in hell for even the most minor transgressions such as not thanking Allah for putting food on the table. The three girls are initially puzzled that God would be so irrationally vengeful. However, other tactics from the playbook follow. Asifa organizes an Islamist mob to publicly molest the three girls while the crowd looks on. Victim-blaming and psychological bullying follows. The girls are informed that they were only molested because they did not wear the hijab. Although the girls initially find the suggestion revolting, they end up wearing the hijab out of fear and compulsion. Hindu divinities are attacked as powerless and contrasted with Allah, who is depicted as all powerful. If Rama could not protect his own wife from being abducted then how could he protect the girls, they are told. Asifa then introduces the three vulnerable girls to Muslim men, who specialize in seducing women.

The tactics work, and they become victioms to the Stockholm Syndrome that makes the victims act irrationally and to credulously trust those who are systematically planning their rape and enslavement. The girls begin rejecting their own religions and begin embracing various Islamic practices. All three, especially the two Hindu girls, begin shunning their own families. Shalini, through whose eyes the story is told, initially resists conversion but then accepts Islam to marry a “love jihadi,” who later dumps her after impregnating her. A local mullah organizes another Muslim man to marry her and traffics her to Syria.

Nimah resists conversion and is repeatedly gang-raped in ways reminiscent of how the ISIS terrorists gang-raped Yazidi girls and passed them off to other terrorists. Gitanjali is drugged and has her nude photographs taken for blackmailing her later. However, she is unaware of the existence of the compromising photographs. Asifa continues to radicalize her. When Gitanjali’s father suffers a heart attack and battles for life in the ICU, Asifa instructs her to visit the father and spit on him.

Why spit on one’s own father? Spitting is both an act of blessing as well as cursing in Islam. There are numerous episodes described in the hadiths where the Prophet Muhammad spits on food before it is eaten by other Muslims. Islamic sources also narrate that Muhammad’s followers anointed themselves by rubbing his spit on their hands and face. It is an act of purificatory blessing when the spit is directed at the food eaten by Muslims. However, the act of spitting becomes one of cursing and shunning when it is directed at a non-believer. Islam teaches that a kafir is an ally of Satan (Quran 7:27). In a well-known hadith, a follower complains to Muhammad that Satan intervenes with his prayers and confounds him. Muhammad instructs him to spit thrice to his left so as to repulse Satan. So, when a Muslim spits on the kafir it is an act of cursing and shunning. It is also an act of reminding the idol-worshiping kafir that he is the “worst of created beings” – the second surah of the Quran has numerous verses which affirm this and proclaim that non-believers are accursed. This particular form of humiliating and shunning the kafir was regularly imposed on Hindus during the Islamic colonization of India. During the reign of Ala’u ‘d-Din Khalji if the Muslim tax-collector wished to spit into his mouth, a Hindu had to open his mouth without demur, says Saiyid Atha Abbas Rizvi, in his Khalji-Kalina Bharata, p. 70, citing Diya’ ad-Din Barani, Tarikh-I Firozshahi.

So, when Gitanjali spat on her father, she was shunning and cursing him for being a Hindu – even though her father is a Communist and an atheist. This is common practice among Muslims. A few years ago, when the celebrated Hindu female playback singer Lata Mangeshkar died, the Muslim actor Shah Rukh Khan was caught on camera spitting to his left while her funerary rites were being performed.

Gitanjali eventually realizes that she had been a victim of “love jihad” and seeks refuge in her loving parents. However, it is too late. The Muslim man blackmails her to marry him and when she refuses him he posts her nude photographs on the Internet. Unable to bear the humiliation and traumatized to the extreme, she commits suicide.

Shalini, on the other hand, is completely brainwashed. She is also pregnant. Even though she had already been passed on from one love jihadi to another she is in complete denial and follows her new jihadi husband to Syria. The cognitive psychologist and behavioral decision theorist Gad Saad has described at length how parasitic beliefs can take possession of the mind and entirely disarm the victim: read, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense. In Syria, Shalini is repeatedly raped even while she is pregnant. Her newborn child is forcibly taken away from her. She meets other kafir women, who too are victims of “love jihad” and have ended up as sex slaves of ISIS terrorists. She finally realizes her mistakes and makes a dash to the UN refugee camp where, among others, are housed Yazidi child victims of Islamic halal rape. In an evocative closing scene, one Yazidi girl child takes Shalini’s burqa and consigns it to the fire.

Based on first person testimony, The Kerala Story is a powerful narrative of the vulnerability and suffering of kafir women victims of “love jihad”. It also shines light on the near complete abdication of responsibility by Hindu parents, who not only fail to showcase Hindu teachings an ideals to their daughters but also fail to warn them of the existential threat that Islam poses. Many Hindu religious leaders of the last century are culpable too. They were clueless about Islamic teachings but disarmed their followers by claiming that all religions are “one” and “noble”. The media, academy, and political establishments have systematically blocked any careful study, investigation, or honest discussion of Islamic teachings and how they shape Muslim behavior. Worse, starting with elementary schools, children are indoctrinated that Islam is a religion of peace. All these not only mislead and disarm impressionable girls but also turn them hostile toward their own families when family members speak the truth about Islamic teachings and the behavior of radical Muslims.


“Love jihad” is central to Islamic teachings.

The Quran advocates it quite explicitly. Quran 33:50 allows Muslim men to marry multiple wives and take any number of women as sex slaves or as concubines — slavery is the most likely outcome whereas concubinage is the best-case scenario. Quran 5:5 clearly states that while a Muslim man can marry a Muslim, Christian, or Jewish woman, he cannot take those as concubines. That leaves polytheist women (such as Hindu women) as the only candidates designated for concubinage and sex slavery. Quran 2:221 makes it clear that a Muslim man cannot marry a polytheist unless she converts to Islam. Thus, the template and prescription for “love jihad” is clearly laid out in the Quran: Muslim men are entitled to take polytheist women as concubines and sex slaves and only marry them if they convert to Islam. Quran 60:10 makes it  clear that Muslim women cannot marry or cohabit with non-Muslim men. Thus, this formulation of who can marry or have sex with whom on what conditions become part of the larger Islamist plot to defeat, enslave, eliminate, and dehumanize other cultures and people.

Millions of Muslims across the planet whose minds have been deluded by Islamic indoctrination take every Quranic verse literally and seriously and try to live by those commands.  A jihadi does not care about death for he is assured of 72 virgins in “heaven/paradise”. That is the reward for waging jihad — for detailed references and discussion see J. Halverson, S. Corman, and H.L. Goodall’s Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism. Who are the foremost of enemies? Quran 5:82 gives the unequivocal answer: Jews and polytheists, especially the latter,  are designated for slaughter and genocide (Quran 9:5). “Love jihad” is a variant of jihad where love is weaponized and aimed at those whom the Quran designates as the worst among enemies. The best outcome for a Hindu woman in this scenario would be that she ends up as a concubine of a “love jihadi” until he dumps her if she does not convert: the Quran forbids marrying her unless she converts. The worst outcome is what happened to the vulnerable women in The Kerala Story.

A less known fact regarding the Islamic conquest of India pertains to the attitude of Muslims toward the feminine aspects of Hindu culture and how it extinguished the very liberty of Hindu women. While Hindu men were targeted for forced conversion or genocide, Hindu women were targeted for sexual exploitation, primarily because of the feminine expressions in dance and music which the Hindus valued. This is best illustrated by the capture, enslavement, and trade of the Gypsies (Roma).

Zoltan Barany points out that Gypsies had their home in northwestern India, among the Hindu Rajput, Jat, and Punjabi clans, and were forced to migrate westwards in three waves between 700 and 950 CE as a result of being taken prisoners of war and as captive minstrels by the invading Muslims, in his book, The East European Gypsies – Regime Change, Marginality, and Ethnopolitics, p. 9. The historian Andre Wink also confirms in Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo Islamic World, Volume 1, p. 161, that “from the seventh century onwards, and with a peak during Muhammad al-Qasim’s campaigns in 712-713 CE, a considerable number of Jats (and also others) were captured as prisoners of war and deported to Iraq and elsewhere as slaves.” The capturing of minstrels and dancers can be traced back to an interesting physiological trait of the Prophet Muhammad characterized by oversensitive auditory brain centers which made him dislike music: for a detailed discussion of this phenomenon, read Koenraad Elst’s incisive paper on the matter. As a result, Islam suppressed music and dance as forms of artistic expressions. The historian K.S. Lal points out that when Muslims invaded India, they encountered Hindus who considered it respectable to teach their daughters dance and music (Legacy of Muslim Rule in India, p. 283). Islam’s oppressive attitude toward women, considered a property to be exploited by men, combined with the fact that Hindu women sang and danced, made them fair game for abduction and slavery.

Ibn Warraq makes a decisive case for the secondary and subject status of women in Islam (see the chapter “Women and Islam” in Why I am Not a Muslim, pp. 290-327). Warraq cites Sheikh Nefzawi’s The Perfumed Garden as a typical example of Muslim attitude toward women. Nefzawi considers women’s sexuality as a grave danger and asserts, “Do you know that women’s religion is in their vaginas? They are insatiable as far as their vulvas are concerned, and so long as their lust is satisfied they do not care whether it be a buffoon, a Negro, a valet, or even a despised man. It is Satan who makes the juices flow from their vaginas.” Warraq (see the chapter The Arab Conquests and the Position of Non-Muslim Subjects, pp. 214-240) argues that the combination of Islamic attitudes toward women and non-Muslims contributed to the Islamic subjugation and sexual enslavement of Hindu women. In Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India, p. 148, historian K.S. Lal discusses (citing The Life of Muhammad – a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah by A. Gillaume, p. 466) how slavery of kafir women in Islam was institutionalized from the very beginning. Lal summarizes the accounts of Ibn Ishaq about a transaction of the Prophet which set a precedent for Islamic slave trade later on: “Then the apostle sent Sa’d b. Zayd al-Ansari… with some of the captive women of B. Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons”.

As a result of such religion-sanctioned outlook, millions of Hindu women were enslaved and sold into the Arab world where they were accorded inferior status as sex slaves, minstrels and dancers, and their descendants became Gypsies.

“Love jihad” is part and parcel of the fundamental Islamic teaching — that in the eyes of a radicalized Muslim a Hindu can only be an enemy, and that a Hindu woman is merely an asset to be appropriated for concubinage or conversion to Islam. In closing, we can quote Andrew Cummins’ brilliant retort to accusations of Islamophobia: “Islamophobia is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.” The only question remaining is whether we are going to stand up for our daughters or submit to fascists.

Kalavai Venkat

Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based writer, an atheist, a practicing orthodox Hindu, and author of the book "What Every Hindu should know about Christianity."