17 August 2022

Religious extremism is morphing into a weapon of hate and division. We live in an epoch characterized by conditions of extreme socio-economic retrogression and distress.  In the words of Hassan Tareq who penned an illuminating article ‘Religious Extremism in India: Religion as a weapon of Politics’ is a tactic that is leading to convulsions which are being felt across the world.

Though shalt not hate, one Auschwitz survivor begged during a recent commendation service into the liberation of Auschwitz where 1.1 people million perished.

South Africa is one of the countries where religious extremists are digging trenches and manning unnecessary battlements as evidenced in several letters and op-eds published in newspapers , which unfortunately don’t bode well for the cause of unity and common purpose against  local challenges such as affirmative action and ‘Indophobia’ that politicians are manifestly exploiting. 

Yes, we are entitled to express our support for or opposition against oppressive laws outside our borders given our personal experiences. Our constitution guarantees that. But we must do so within the four corners of our constitutional democracy. By not speaking out against anti-semitism, history reminded us lately with the 75 anniversary of the liberation of the death camps in Auschwitz.

We did nothing and hundreds of thousands of Tamils became victims of oppression in Sri Lanka just as we did nothing when the Bosnian Holocaust visited us.

Freedom of association is enshrined in our constitution. I am concerned though that this freedom has become the bedrock upon which hate mongers build their ramparts of religious intolerance and hate. This at a time when the Modi government has passed one of the most toxic laws which is reminiscent of the laws that the Nazis steadily but surreptitiously as well as constitutionally legislated into existence falling ordinary Germans into silent acquiescence before it was too late and the “Final Solution” became more than a vision in Germany.

I must urge all ‘SAFRindians’ to reflect on that and to become conscientious objectors speaking out against leaders and their minions who spread out across the world and have gained a  toehold in South Africa. We are a minority but we can fight religious extremists and their propagators as a united force just as the NIC did contributing towards a world faith-based community that is diverse but not divided.

Yes, I believe we can do it. Through a calculated filtration process, religious extremism is morphing into a weapon of hate and division. Join me before we condemn our children and grand children to yet another cycle of hate.

Do not hate.

Do not look away.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay
Lawyer: Constitutional Law

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