New Delhi: Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan, in a newspaper article on Wednesday, questioned the "love jihad" theory floated by right-wing groups, saying it was "sad that too much importance is given to religion and not enough to humanity and love."
Saif, whose mother, Sharmila Tagore, is a Hindu and whose father, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, was a Muslim, said in the article that he did not know what "love jihad" was except that it was "a complication created in India".
"We grew up on real-life romantic stories about our elders marrying for love and not worrying too much about tradition. And we were brought up to believe that god is one, with many names," Saif wrote in The Indian Express.
He wrote that when he married fellow actor Kareena Kapoor, a Hindu, they received death threats.
"When Kareena and I married, there were similar death threats, with people on the Net saying ridiculous things about "love jihad". We follow whatever religion or spiritual practice we believe in. We talk about them and respect each other's views. I hope our children will do the same," he wrote in the article.
"I have prayed in church and attended mass with Kareena, while she has bowed her head at dargahs and prayed in mosques. When we purified our new home, we had a havan and a Quran reading and a priest sprinkling holy water - no chances taken!" the article said.
Saif, in his article, said Islam needed to "modernise and renew itself".
Amid row over Muslim men allegedly forcing their wives to convert, Saif wrote: "The good news is that no one needs to convert from their religion to get married. The Special Marriage Act, when applicable, is the paramount law of the land. If you marry under this, it is upheld over any religious law. It is truly secular."
"I don't know what 'love jihad' is. It is a complication created in India," the article said.
He said he knew intermarriages she he too was "a child of one and my children are born out of it".
"Intermarriage is not jihad. Intermarriage is India. India is a mix. Ambedkar said the only way to annihilate caste is intermarriage," he wrote.
"My children were born Muslim but they live like Hindus (with a pooja ghar at home), and if they wanted to be Buddhist, they would have my blessing. That's how we were brought up."