Muslims angry as Islamophobia and ‘Muslim bias on SAFM’ goes unchallenged

By Al Qalam Reporter

Muslims are incensed that a guest on SAFM was allowed to go unchallenged when she spoke on traditional African beliefs saying religion, including Islam, had “corrupted the way of life of Africans.”

And what is worse is that the producers of the show “Facts of Faith”, featured on October 6 did not have a Muslim representative on the programme to rebut the vile Islamophobic comments made by the guest, Empress Thandi Ramncwana, director of Inkanyezi Emnyama who represented African Culture.

The other guests of the show were the Christian representative, Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa, Chairperson of Moral Regeneration and Easton Zinhumwe representing Hebrew Israelite.

The topic for discussion was ‘Is religion necessary for morality? Does society need religion to be more moral?’

During the show, Ramncwana slandered our Prophet (SAW) saying he had married a child of six and cohabited with her when she was nine.

“…and according to both the Quran and Bible, these are Holy Matrimonies. You cannot be surprised by the African who is being zombified by this religion …is emulating the God, the morality, the higher power that is being adopted.”

Many of her comments and vilification of Islam are vile and offensive to be quoted and published in Al Qalam.

She pointed out that Christianity and Islam were the two biggest religions “affecting Africans” in our country. She blatantly added “I see no morality in Christianity, I see no morality in Islam.”

Now, the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) has lodged an urgent complaint with Professor Henning Viljoen of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) against SAFM for producing a show that was allegedly biased in that they featured representatives of two of the Abrahamic faiths – Christianity and Judaism – but left out a representative of the Islamic faith. This was in violation of point 13.1 of the BCCSA Free to Air Code of Conduct for Broadcasting Service Licenses 2009.

Dr Faisal Suleman, Chairperson of SAMNET, questioned why the presenter Naye Lupondwana did not “interject to prevent her from speaking about Islam or attempting to point out that she is not an expert on Islam. Throughout the programme, she misleadingly compared Islam to the African Culture saying that religion corrupted the way of life of Africans.”

“She was left to make severely negative remarks about the Abrahamic religions for over five minutes before being addressed. At the very first comparison, the presenter should have advised against it. Allowing her to speak about Islam should only have been allowed if a representative of Islam was present to rebut her gross malignment of Islam.”

“When she proceeded to make comments on Christianity and Islam Lupondwana interjects and while he acknowledges that the pastor is there to provide a response to Empress, there is no opportunity for clarification about the statements made against Islam. Why this gross double standard by the presenter?”

Islamophobia

Suleman said the ignorance and blatant Islamophobia exhibited by her statements are shocking. “We are astounded that the presenter allowed this to continue without any attempt to stop her or correct this, he added.

Suleman said the entire discussion around 11th century customary marriages etc. needs a detailed discussion by experts and not inflammatory and ignorant rhetoric.

“Neither she nor does the presenter, mention that before the advent of Islam, women had no civil rights. It was Prophet Muhammad who taught men to give equal care to all children and emphasized more care and attention to female children. Islam forbids prostitution and adultery, gives women the right to inherit land and, empowers women by taking an active role in society. ‘The Holy Quran states: ‘And don’t approach (come near unto) fornication (unlawful premarital or extramarital sex), Lo! It is an abomination and an evil way.’ One of the most cherished statements of the Prophet Muhammad: ‘… and the best believers are those who are best to their wives.’

A representative from the Islamic religion would have clarified this for Empress Thandi Ramncwana and the 200 000 listeners tuning into SAFM.

“We believe strong censure is required against the SABC, SAFM and the presenter, as this is not the first time that double standards are applied where Islam and Muslims are the point discussion or part of the subject matter,” Dr Suleman added.

Suleman has asked Imams to raise this issue during Khutba and at other times, and to encourage musallees, members of Muslim organisations to complain to the SABC about the unfair treatment given to Islam and Muslims on SABC platforms – and on this show in particular.

You can complain to the SABC by contacting them on the following platforms: SABC Twitter and Facebook – @SABCNewsOnline; SABC editorial policy – policy@sabc.co.za; SABC Acting COO – Sylvia Tladi TladiS@sabc.co.za and @TladiSylvia (twitter)

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