RE: COMPLAINT/ RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION AT SANDF
The South African Muslim Network expresses our extreme concern and disappointment at the manner in which officers are treated for practicing certain aspects of their religion. We object to the unconstitutional manner in which the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has dealt with Major Fatima Isaacs regarding her objection to removing her headscarf.
Her headscarf does not interfere with her duties, nor the military uniform. Major Isaacs being charged by the military brass for wearing the headscarf is clearly discriminatory against the spirit and letter of the Constitution, Ubuntu and an inclusive and multi-plural society.
SANDF deploys all over Africa much of which has people of the Islamic faith. The action against Major Isaacs sends a completely wrong message to all our people and of all SANDF members that discrimination against Muslims is acceptable. It also does not bode well for joint cooperation with other African countries and for peacekeeping missions.
Chapter 2 of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights clearly permits religious rights to be practiced and respected. As it stands, the policies and regulations of SANDF that prohibit its officers from exercising their religious freedom is unconstitutional and must be amended.
Requisite changes to the dress code to accommodate our officers to practice their religion needs to be done urgently.
Your urgent positive engagement in this matter is needed.
The South African Muslim Network