17 August 2022

South African Muslims have come out in full support of New Zealand’s 50 000 Muslim community in the wake of an attack by a “white supremacist” terrorist who mowed down dozens of Jum’uah worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch last week. Here’s a summary of what local leaders had to say.

Thandile Kona, President of the Muslim Youth Movement: This crime against humanity is a consequence of the polarizing and discriminatory language and actions of many leaders around the world. Their words and actions only serve to make the world an unsafe place for all humanity.

We send our condolences and prayers to the families of those who needlessly lost their lives in this terrible act of violence. We also stand in solidarity with the Muslims of New Zealand and all peace and justice loving of the world.

We commend the law enforcement authorities of New Zealand for their swift action in capturing some of the alleged perpetrators. It is our hope that the remaining ones will be captured soon and brought to book.

We also pray to Allah to ease their pain and sorrow at this time of bereavement. May Allah grant the deceased a special place in Paradise.

Dr. Faisal Suliman, Chairperson of South African Muslim Network (SAMNET):  Sadly, however, given the almost incessant negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims, the stereotyping of Muslims in the media and the entertainment industry, it is not unexpected. Hence, there would be a growth in Islamophobia. This growth resulting in the sort of hate espoused by various social media platforms, major political leaders, is proof of the effect of almost two decades long negative narrative about Islam and Muslims. The media and those in the entertainment industry need to introspect deeply and seriously about the way their roles are creating discord, distrust and disharmony in support of political agendas.

We call on all Muslims around the world to react with the dignity and self-restraint that is inherent in the teachings of the Holy Quraan and the examples of God Almighty’s last Messenger, our beloved Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him).

This tragedy reminds us of our vulnerability as human beings. In times of division, it is critical that we stand together as a single humanity. We oppose every and any act that fragments us from racism, bigotry and violence against any member of society, the central tenet of our religion being PEACE. We appeal to the media and politicians to consider the impact of their words and their ability to generate Islamophobia. The manner in which a problem is portrayed, is how it is perceived, and media driven stereotypes; all end up having an impact on people on the ground.

Moulana Ebrahim Bham, Secretary General of Jamiatul Ulama South Africa: We condemn strongly this level of hate and terror which we believe is fomented by Islamophobic rhetoric normalised and ratcheted in recent times by supposedly responsible leaders, in positions of power and influence. 

Our hearts go out to the survivors and the communities in Christchurch as they mourn the loss of the departed ones, killed at places of prayer, the supposed sanctuaries of peace and safety. We make dua for the quick recovery of those injured in these attacks made of sheer hate. 

Describing the day as ‘one of the darkest ones’ in that country, we welcome the words of the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who has said: “Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.

The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was.” 

As the world will be watching New Zealand’s authorities investigate these heinous crimes in order to bring perpetrators to book, we would like to echo the calls to declare Islamophobia ‘a crime against humanity’. The world should not reward racists and peddlers of hate to make careers out of the maligning of Muslims and the propagation of Islamophobia. 

On these shores, as we observe the 2019 Anti-Racism Week, let us reflect on these developments in New Zealand, and say ‘no’ to hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

Especially on social media, let us be more circumspect and curb the curiosity that promotes the circulation of materials that unwittingly gives undue publicity to the mongers of hate crimes”. 

Sheikh Irafaan Abrahams, President of the Muslim Judicial Council: “The MJC believes our political leaders must do more to counter Islamophobia, acts of hatred and terrorism against any group. This includes provocative and divisive speech, which can contribute to an increase in Islamophobia and racism.

The event is tragic and a reminder of our fragility as a people and society. It is critical that we stand together and oppose all acts and words of hatred, terrorism and violence directed at any member of society, particularly based on their religion, race or affiliations.

 “It is critical that we stand together as a community and oppose all acts and words of hatred, terrorism, racism and violence directed at any member of any society, particularly based on their religion, race or affiliations.”

Moulana Sayed Yusuf, President  of Sunni Ulema Council, Gauteng:  On behalf of Muslims of South Africa we share our condolences with the aggrieved families and ask that Almighty Allah grant the deceased Jannatul Firdaus – and the families’ patience during this painful period. We pray for the recovery of all those injured during this hideous incident.

We wish to take the opportunity during this dark period of many in the lives of many to express our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in horror attacks in Mosques in New Zealand. Furthermore we supplicate that the injured be granted Shifa e Kamila and for the maghfirat of the deceased. 

It is our view that this tragic incident would have been avoided by mature, responsible and wise actions by those who have influence in the political and media spheres. It is both the hate and fear of Islam that drives this abhorrent narratives where as a careful study of Islam could reveal that there is nothing to fear nor hate. 

We find the words of the Prime Minister of New Zealand encouraging and exhort them to go the extra mile to bring the perpetrators to book. 


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