Dear General Cele
RE: OFFENSIVE REMARKS MADE BY POLICEMAN
South African Muslim Network notes comments attributed to yourself expressing regret for the derogatory comments about Islam and Almighty God’s last Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him and all God’s prophets) made by a policeman, on 24th April 2020, during the raids/arrest of Muslim worshippers who were in contravention of lockdown regulations.
Notwithstanding the transgression of the worshippers, the insults made by the attending police people were very offensive and in contravention of all South Africans constitutionally enshrined right to religious freedom, dignity and self-respect.
We do not know whether the comments made by the arresting officers were:
a. Out of anger,
b. Reflective of poor knowledge or misconception about the Muslim religious beliefs
c. As a result of either, an islamophobic mindset garnered over time as a result of watching blatantly biased coverage about Islam and Muslims in films, news and mainstream media etc.
d. Or more concerning and dangerous for the rainbow nation , is whether during police briefing sessions before deployment, or during college training, or during specialised training for crowd control or terrorism or any insurgency, there is training or briefing material could be the cause of a misconception about Islam.
It is common knowledge that all our security structures cooperate highly with western security structures and there is sharing of material, professionals and skills transfers especially since 9-11 and the War on Terror, with the Western governments pushing their world view Vis a Vis Islam and a one-world order.
The islamophobic mentality of many of the western governments is well documented and no secret at all and the skills transfers and training of our people whether locally or in their countries comes with ensuring that their worldview is entrenched in their material and training and any other financial or logistical support.
Our concern is that those training manuals and mentality have been incorporated to the SAPS, SSA, SANDF and other like bodies and this is reflective in the attitude of the police officers during the raid.
We strongly believe the material being used in colleges, in training and briefings, especially when it originates from western security structures must be reviewed to ensure there is no racist or bias toward any religion or minority group.
The behaviour of the specific police officers also has to be investigated and they should undergo some sensitivity training about religion and diversity. We would gladly assist with arranging of such education.