Incidents of Islamophobia anger S. African Muslims

A pig’s snout with blood was found at the entrance of Cape Town’s historic Nurul Islam Mosque in Simons Town

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Muslims in South Africa have expressed concern at growing incidents of Islamophobia after a mosque was defaced Monday in Cape Town, three days after a pig’s snout was found at another mosque.

Dr. Faisal Suleiman of the South Africa Muslim Network (SAMNET) says he is worried that incidents of Islamophobia could escalate if steps are not taken to stop those responsible.

“We believe that biased news reports in some of our media outlets showing Muslims as violent is responsible for some of these incidents,” he said via telephone from the port city of Durban on Tuesday.

On Monday, unknown people broke into the Jamiah mosque in Kalk Bay in Cape Town and smeared blood on the walls of the mosque.

The mosque’s imam, Achmat Sity, said that framed scriptures were also pulled off the wall and thrown on the floor. The incident has been reported to police.

On Saturday a pig’s snout with blood was found at the entrance of Cape Town’s historic Nurul Islam Mosque. A pig is regarded as unclean in Islam and believers are prohibited from consuming it.

Nurul Islam mosque, which is located in Simon’s Town, one of the tourist centers of Cape Town celebrated its centenary in 2011.

Local Muslim radio stations were inundated with callers expressing outrage after the incidents.

Ibrahim Vawdwa, a researcher at the Johannesburg based Media Review Network (MRN), an advocacy Muslim NGO, told Anadolu Agency Muslims enjoy good relations with other faith groups in the country.

He believes that incidents of Islamophobia in the country could be attributed to the growing right leaning political movement in the west.

“As Muslims, we should take necessary steps to complain to our relevant authorities on such incidents,’’ he said adding that, “we should not allow these incidents to occur.”

He said Muslims should not accept the demonization of their religion by a group of few individuals.

Last week, a Cape Town man called for the burning of a local Mosque in his area because of the call to the five daily Muslim prayers which is made on loud speakers. The man has since apologized.

The South Africa Muslim Network also says it has received information of Muslim women dressed in the Nikkab (face veil) being discriminated at some shopping malls, or intimidated while driving in some suburbs.

‘‘We have reported some of these incidents to the police, and the Human Rights commission,’’ SAMNET’s Dr. Suleiman told Anadolu Agency.

Muslims make up about 2 percent of South Africa’s strong 55 million population. Regardless of their numbers, Muslims play an important role in the country’s economy. Some are engaged in politics, academia, and trade among others.

South African Muslims are viewed as moderate and live in harmony with their fellow countrymen.

Hassan Isilow

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