A mosque in Kerala has decided to open its gates and wallet for the wedding of a Hindu couple, Anju and Sarath Sasi, AsiaNews reports. The Cheruvally Muslim Jamaat Mosque in Kayamkulam, Alappuzha district, will be the venue for the Hindu ceremony on 19 January. A vegetarian wedding banquet will be organised for about a thousand guests.
Mosque committee secretary Nujumuddin Alummoottil said he received a request for help from Bindhu, Anju’s mother, about two months ago. The family has been struggling economically since the death of her father, Ashokan, in 2018.
As wedding costs are higher, the request for funds was passed on to the committee, which agreed to help the family. The wedding will be performed at an auspicious time, between 11.30am and 12.30 pm, in front of the mosque. A large shamiana will be set up under a tent.
To help the young couple start married life, the mosque also decided to make a cash donation of 200,000 rupees (US$ 2,800) to the groom and gold jewellery to the bride.
“Since there’s a tradition of wedding gifts in this area, we will sponsor Rs 2 lakh in cash for the groom and gold jewellery for the bride,” mosque secretary Nujumuddin Alummoottil told The Telegraph.
He said he didn’t want publicity.
“I had shared the template for the invitation card with my family to check the spellings. Somehow it got shared online and went viral, attracting the Malayalam media,” he said.
Alummoottil said this would be the first Hindu marriage at a mosque in Keralaalthough most mosques do help out the poor and, in principle, do so irrespective of religion. When news of the wedding was posted online, the committee received many thank you notes. However, fake news also appeared claiming that the couple planned to convert to Islam. This is not true, Alummoottil insisted. Those who spread hatred must be ignored, noted.
Alummoottil owns a “wedding centre”, the local term for a one-stop wedding shop.
“I have helped many people on many occasions. But I have never felt this kind of satisfaction,” he said.
Alummoottil is now toying with the idea of launching “communal amity homes” with blocks of three houses, one each for a poor family from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities.
“I’m sure this (housing) project will get a lot of community support,” he said.
Amid the country-wide protests against the CAA and the associated National Register of Citizens (NRC), Kerala has been churning out such examples of communal harmony one after another in recent days.
The Indian state of Kerala stands out as an example of interfaith harmony at a time when India is marked by sectarian conflicts following the amendment of the country’s citizenship legislation, which excludes Muslim applicants.
Last week, the St Thomas Church in Kothamangalam opened its doors to Muslims returning from a day of protests against the legislation for evening prayers. The wedding will follow Hindu rite, the committee secretary explained.
Two days before that, in Pathanamthitta, another church — St Thomas Mar Thoma in Kozhencherry — had boys and girls singing Christmas carols in traditional Muslim attire. The girls wore headscarves and the boys wore skull caps. The youngsters were expressing their solidarity with the anti-CAA movement in the country.
Two weeks ago, when one of the first protests against the CAA and the NRC broke out in Kerala, a young woman’s photo took a lot of attention. She was wearing a hijab and carrying a placard that said “Mr Modi I am Indulekha, Identify me by my Dress?”
This was in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that those protesting against the CAA and the NRC can be identified by their clothes, insinuating that they belonged to a certain religion. Indulekha is a Hindu name. T