13 July 2024

By Al Qalam Reporter

When a local right wing Christian group – the National Christian Resistance Movement – was last week exposed for plotting terror activities in South Africa, mainstream media didn’t go crazy with sensationalist headlines – a stark contrast to when “someone with a Muslim name” was accused of the same heinous crimes.

That is exactly the blatant bias that the mainstream media in this country are being called out for by Dr Faisal Suleman, chairperson of the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET).

He told Al-Qalam that when the story broke that the Hawks had arrested three members of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM), also known as the Crusaders, reporting of the incident by mainstream media was somewhat muted in light of allegations that the alleged terrorists had apparently plotted to plant bombs in shopping malls, informal settlements, army bases and police stations.

Three members of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM), also known as the Crusaders, were arrested. One of the group’s alleged leader Harry Knoesen – a former member of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) – appeared in court in Mpumalanga last Friday.

Suleman asked why there was a “a deafening silence” from media houses to interview  the many security experts and think-tanks who usually don’t let facts get in the way of their grandiose speculation when security matters involve a Muslim or anything related to Islam.

 “We recall their wild speculation before the 2010 World Cup about the presence of Al-Qaeda camps and plots to bomb stadia during the World Cup.

 “Dramatic and sensationalist headlines and sound bites speculating that Al-Qaeda and ISIS were well-established in South Africa after the arrests of the Tulsi Twins – on what appears to be at best – very poor evidence of any proof of intended terrorist activity. Surprisingly there has been no call for Christians, Christian groups and theologians or Christian political parties to dissociate themselves from the racist diatribe and terror plots of the Crusaders like the way Muslims are hounded to do after any violent act committed by anyone with a Muslim name anywhere in the world.”

Suleman also noted that there has been no wild speculation on what the presence of these Crusaders would do to the image of South Africa.

“There is no mention of any negative impact on the rand and tourism or the presence of other right wing fundamentalists in South Africa with links to other white terrorist Christian groups all over the world, as would have been done ad nauseam had a Muslim been found in possession of arms and the accompanying hate rhetoric.”

“The glaring double standards in the media are pointedly made in the coverage of this story as is the silence and/or ignorance or deliberate attempts by the security intelligentsia to diminish the presence of extremism from non-Muslim quarters. Where are all the security experts and think- tanks? Maybe we need to look into who funds them and sets their agendas!”

“Racism and extremism, and any intent to violent expression of these ideas, are an affront to Almighty God. It must be condemned no matter where they originate from and we hope that our security apparatus will spare no effort in doing their jobs without fear or favour within the ambit of our laws, and not be distracted and influenced to see extremism from one quarter only.”

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