Most “studies” of Love Jihad deem the phenomenon to be nonexistent, and it goes without saying that such “studies” are often administered, monitored, and reviewed almost exclusively by Indian Leftist academics and affiliated intellectuals. Paraded by Indosecularists as being conjured up by the Hindu Right, Love Jihad is mythic; and in the words of Gupta (2009), it is a “Hindu patriarchal notion,” a “militant Hindu assertion,” and “fake” (p. 13). The possibility that it is actually a socio-structural reality tangibly accessible for qualitative analysis would risk delegitimizing narrative aspirations prone to contextualizing Love Jihad as the product of, and again in the words of Gupta (2009), a “hate campaign of Hindu organizations” that “fosters hate” (p. 13). And as Gupta (2009) goes on to optimistically conclude, what may be Love Jihad may actually be Hindu women being “actors and subjects in their own right by choosing elopements and conversions” (p. 15).
The Compromised “Study” as an Emotive Appeal
Such a compromised “study” operating as a commentary is congested with anti-Hindu criticism. In the binary that is the Muslim male and Hindu female, a third agent is added as a necessity, this third agent being Hindu patriarchy. The first reflex of Gupta, and those of similar thought, is to deny the existence of Love Jihad as a socio-structural reality, and then levy blame upon Hindu organizations for having conjured up something so detrimentally regressive and anti-secular. After all, the men of the Indian Left’s most favorite minority group can never do any wrong, and Hindu women are, and again in the words of Gupta (2009), only “exercising their legitimate right to love” (p. 13). This transforms her commentarial “study” into an emotive appeal. However, the foundation still remains the same: anti-Hindu criticism.
While Gupta’s short article is only one article, it is normative of popular streams of thought, that Love Jihad is a campaign constructed by the Hindu Right to malign India’s Muslim communities, specifically the Indian Muslim male youth. It has no socio-cultural agency originating in carefully planned predation of non-Muslim women. The Indian Left parades this meme to the point of exhaustion. The most surprising aspect, however, is not to be found in the heavy politicization of Love Jihad but rather that no carefully articulated analysis is easily accessible that properly utilizes criminological theory in identifying such activity as predation of non-Muslim women by Muslim men. Therefore, this essay positions, through criminological scrutiny, Love Jihad as predatory behavior.
On the Appeal to Agency: Purposeful Conflation and Misdirection
Before identifying Love Jihad as predation of non-Muslim women by Muslim men through an analysis that utilizes criminological theory, it is important to revisit the adding of the third agent that is Hindu patriarchy. Consulting this misdirection by apologists from the Indian Left provides concerned Hindus with an analytical platform from which they can conclude the Indian Leftist denial of Love Jihad as non-sequitorial. First, clarifying what Indian Leftists mean by “agency” can help one understand better the appeal to agency.
By “agency,” it is stressed that Hindu females in relationships with Muslim males are acting out of their own volition, that a Hindu female in a relationship with a Muslim male is being an active agent by consciously choosing such a union. The Indian Left then states that the Hindu Right—and more generally the Hindu patriarchy—subverts Hindu females who are active agents in such unions by denying Hindu women their roles as agents who choose elopements and conversions—this being the appeal to agency. Agency signifies the active; the appeal to agency, however, signals the misdirection of valid Hindu criticisms of Love Jihad.
Almost every organizational Hindu criticism of Love Jihad that one can find does not fail in highlighting consensual unions from predatory selecting. This is something that is utterly disregarded by the Indian Left. When valid and expository Hindu criticisms of Love Jihad are sidelined by Indian Leftists who appeal to agency, the adding of Hindu patriarchy as the third agent is used to misdirect readers and viewers into believing in an egregious conflation. The conflation is as follows: Any and every relationship wherein a union is composed of a Hindu female and a Muslim male is agentive; when Hindu groups contest many of these unions, they are subverting and—to borrow a Marxian meme—suppressing Hindu females who are consciously choosing to be in such unions. Such a conflation advantageously solidifies the inadequacy of the appeal to agency because it presupposes “agentive Hindu women” as a definitive signifier without even entertaining the criminological aspects related to the positioning of Love Jihad as predatory behavior.
A Process Psychology of Predation Processes and Predatory Controls
Undoubtedly, Love Jihad is predatory behavior. It is the carefully planned predation of non-Muslim women primarily for a twofold purpose: either the recyclability of prey exhibited through the conversion of the non-Muslim female to Islam or the accessibility of prey through her sexual exploitation and social manipulation. In the Kafir land of Hindustan, success for Love Jihad operations rests mostly on three factors: a high predator-to-prey ratio, the availability of prey variety, and the recyclability of prey.
A high predator-to-prey ratio is easily noticeable in India having a Hindu majority, and thus there are more Kafirs for every Love Jihadist. Furthermore, the prey variety of Kafirs is quite diverse. There are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Christian, and Parsi females—and while there may be more, this specific diversity range of prey variety sufficiently coincides with availability. Recyclability of prey, however, is what gives Love Jihad its infamous characterization.
What is meant by recyclability of prey, as alluded to earlier, is the desired end result of the Love Jihadist, which is the conversion of the targeted non-Muslim female to Islam. While predators are often successful because they are, after all, predators, the predation of non-Muslim women by Love Jihadists is emboldened by the three factors described above. However, these three factors are surface-level characterizations that do not go deep enough in the criminological scrutiny of Love Jihad as predatory behavior.
In such a criminological scrutiny, and as a response to determine further the cause of such predation through a model explanation, it is imperative to first make an inquiry into the engines of behavior, particularly to explain Love Jihad as a behavior that activates predation processes and utilizes predatory controls. This inquiry, comprehensively listed by Pallone and Hennessy (1994), and modeled upon it, incorporates process psychology, seeking to explain a particular behavior—and in our case, Love Jihad—by making an inquiry into the psychological processes involved in the predation of Kafir women by Muslim men, the conditions of such predation, and the involvement of internal and external controls.
Love Jihad as a behavior that activates predation processes. For Love Jihadists to activate predation processes, there first has to be an exhibition of exclusive targeting. It is here that Hindus can find insightful relevance in familiarizing themselves with the distinction between familial and extra-familial influences effectuating predatory behavior. Extra-familial influences that act as important predispositions toward criminal development operate outside the home environment, unlike that of the familial (Raine, 1993).
When non-Muslim females, especially Hindu women, are selectively targeted in an exclusive fashion, Love Jihadists activate a particular predation process. This rests on the inherent, socio-religiously internal factor of viewing Kafir women as “fair game.” In stark contrast to how Love Jihadists view Muslim women, the Kafir female is a devalued individual, a person who can be “conquered” and “toyed with” for she lacks the respectful agency generally “granted” towards Muslim women. This is a mindset that is persistently found throughout Love Jihad offending. Familial influences allow Love Jihadists to bypass Muslim women since they are generally not to be “patronized” through predation. Therefore, the exhibition of exclusive targeting activates the predation of non-Muslim women since Muslim men who engage in Love Jihad show predisposed selection.
Love Jihad as a behavior that utilizes predatory controls. For Love Jihadists to utilize predatory controls the involvement of internal and external controls has to follow exclusive targeting (Raine, 1993). After all, exclusive targeting exhibits the advanced planning of prey selection. The finding of prey and subsequent tracking, however, rests on continued persistence (Raine, 1993). For example, Muslim men attending Hindu religious celebrations or events in order to “hook up” with Hindu women—and here again one can notice in the Love Jihadist the perception of Hindu females as being “easy” or as “justifiable prey”—illustrates their grasping of prey vulnerability. Herein, social manipulation is relatively easy for Love Jihadists to engage in. The quick donning of a Hindu name, engaging in Hindu mannerisms, and even partaking in Kafir celebratory expressions, afford Love Jihadists controls to utilize in order to deceive.
Nonetheless, the possibility of there not even being any such deceptive actions involved must also be taken into account. In their predation of non-Muslim women, Love Jihadists may utilize non-deceptive actions while simultaneously engaging in predatory behavior. While recyclability of prey ultimately rests on the factor of deception, the means of control utilized to ensure that the non-Muslim female ends up converting to Islam do not have to be deceptive. They can be quite straightforward and honest. Either way, the factor of persistence is displayed throughout.
A process psychology that engages in civilizational signaling. In this sense, Love Jihad operations exhibit a certain form of aggression that can be described as intermale aggression. Offering a classification schema to define this form of aggressive behavior, Pallone and Hennessy (1994) list that intermale aggression can be typified “by fighting to establish dominance in mating functions” (p. 145). The relevance of intermale aggression in the predatory behavior of Love Jihad is found among the boastfully boisterous pursuit of non-Muslim women in a heavily non-Muslim country.
It is a civilizational signaling to Hindu males that is akin to how an army may treat the citizens of its defeated foes, represented through the availability of prey characteristic. In one way or another, Love Jihad is represented in practice more through the availability of prey than its recyclability. Through the sexually exploitative and socially manipulative predation of Hindu women specifically, Muslim men who engage in Love Jihad primarily attack “objects” deemed to signal reverential aspects of India’s Hindu communities. And repeated instances of such criminality, since they display the factor of persistence, constitute a psychopathological tendency to debase those reverential aspects.
Constrained Environmental Explanations: Is Love Jihad a Production of Unequal Social Relations?
That Love Jihad offending is not a specifically rational activity utilizing specific decision-making criteria for it to constitute reasoned action but instead brought on by the Hindu-majority environment, is the central argument put forth by the Indian Left.
This transforms characterizing Love Jihad operations from predation of non-Muslim women to a production of unequal social relations between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities. In doing so, it invokes environmental explanations that posit Love Jihad as a “justified,” or rather an understandable or expected, undertaking worthy of sympathetic scrutiny rather than normative countermeasures. That a greater emphasis should be placed on such social relations of communal production is trademark of Marxist criminology employing a concept of “class” arising out of those relations (Sparks, 1980). In critical response, such a re-emphasizing of Love Jihad is dangerously problematic.
Love Jihad being a production of unequal social relations suggests that “the facts of human diversity are not subject to the power to criminalize” (Sparks, 1980). And if Indian minority communities are not subject to the power to criminalize but instead to factors displacing them from various forms of stability, then it would also follow that behaviors of offending are devoid of reasoned action since an oppressive Hindu-majority environment would supposedly make reasoned actions highly unlikely. That the Indian Left has yet to demonstrate any definitive relationship between socio-economic instability and unequal socio-communal relations making Love Jihad offending an expected production arising out of those relations only leaves such environmental explanations unilluminating.
Instead, these environmental explanations are dangerous justifications because they attempt the normalization of Love Jihad as an unreasoned response toward experienced “oppression.” And in conjunction with “agentive Hindu women” acting out of their own volition, Love Jihad now transforms into a rebellious expression of interfaith unity against Hindu patriarchy—in the end, becoming a dialectical transition from unreasoned emotionalism to revolutionary social justice.
This is an explanation that purposefully abolishes criminal conduct by invoking in its place an arrangement perceived to be productive even though it is devoid of any inherent correctionalism—that is, a social reform that is noticeable and tangible (Sparks, 1980). In other words, it asserts that such “unions” are self-replicating attempts at social reform against a Hindu-majority backdrop wherein Hindu women who volitionally join these “relationships” are expressing a secular commitment to abolishing purported socio-communal inequalities.
Devoid of any inherent correctionalism, these are constrained environmental explanations that fall drastically short in being conclusive because they fail to address specifically why Hindu women at large are heavily receptive to their own communities, and not to a secular commitment to abolishing said inequalities. For example, most Hindu women, regardless of their socio-cultural (i.e., caste or ethno-linguistic) standing, are unresponsive to feminism because they find a very tangible and integrative experience from belonging to their own intermediate social structures such as their Hindu families and see no productive benefit from entangling themselves in tangential arrangements devoid of that belonging (see: On Hindu Feminism). Therefore, should there not be a severe decrease in receptiveness to social intermediaries on a socio-structural level for an arrangement perceived to be productive to be, in the end, correctionalist? In critical response, the re-emphasizing of Love Jihad as a production of unequal social relations collapses because there is no severe decrease, especially since such correctionalism has yet to be demonstrated.
As initially detailed, Love Jihadists activate predation processes and utilize predatory controls. Their operations are carefully situated as representing reasoned actions. That Love Jihadists are reasoning criminals who use decision-making in their predatory pursuit of non-Muslim and especially Hindu women is an advantageous theoretical counter to the environmental framework employed by the Indian Left. That Love Jihadists are reasoning criminals is a perspective mainly concerned with treating Love Jihad offending as a specifically rational activity, and hence representative of the rational choice perspective in criminological theory (Tuck & Riley, 2014). To suggest that Love Jihad operations are “reasoned” actions is not to be confused for any attempt at a remedial justification, but to entirely position such offending as made up of decision-making processes that constitute it as a behavioral criminality.
Furthermore, since these operations are decision-based, they are measurable and predictable. After all, Love Jihad as a reasoning criminality of a highly predatory framework is not as concerned with getting caught as it is with the certainty of results. The certainty of results is more likely to influence predatory behavior than the severity of punishment (Tuck & Riley, 2014). Therefore, a normative countermeasure is of special importance because Love Jihad reflects a strict focusing on the outcome of the act.
A reasoning criminality that activates predation processes and utilizes predatory controls in its systematic recycling of prey through high volume prey availability should never be sympathized with, precisely because it is predatory and not a production of unequal social relations. To sympathize with this type of demonstrably routine predatory behavior, as the Indian Left does, should be seen as an egregious attempt at normalizing the predation of non-Muslim women by Muslim men. That normalization occurs on such an industrial scale, and that such normalization is ideologically self-immunizing, is all the more reason to enact a reactionary process in response that socially, economically, and politically prioritizes the safety and security of Hindu women across India.
Gupta, C. (2009). Hindu women, Muslim men: Love Jihad and conversions. Economic and Political Weekly, 44(51), 13–15. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260468360_Hindu_Women_Muslim_Men_Love_Jihad_and_Conversions
Pallone, N., & Hennessy, J. (1994). Criminal behavior: A process psychology analysis. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Raine, A. (1993). The psychopathology of crime: Criminal behavior as a clinical disorder. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Sparks, R. (1980). A critique of Marxist criminology. Crime and Justice, 2, 159–210. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1147414
Tuck, M., & Riley, D. (2014). The theory of reasoned action: A decision theory of crime. In D. Cornish & R. Clarke (Eds.), The reasoning criminal: Rational choice perspectives on offending (pp. 156–169). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.