No respect for religion

Manny de Freitas, DA Member of Parliament

The disrespect, desecration, blasphemy and violence that was displayed earlier this month at the beautiful and historic 120-year-old mosque in Simon’s Town left me cold.

As usual, it is the few fringe crazies who cause severe hurt and offence to the many.

How can anyone, irrespective of what faith they belong to, have the simple disrespect to splatter blood all over the walls of a place of worship, in this case a mosque?

How can anyone have the utter contempt to smear the pulpit in a place of worship as was done at this mosque?

After all the religious-based acts of hatred that we see worldwide, how can any South African not see that this is unacceptable and then still want to contribute to this?

I’m heartened to see the unified condemnation of these acts from all sectors of society, including those of the Christian and Jewish communities.

Although it is important that, for example, the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Catholic Church loudly condemn these acts, I am disappointed by the lack of voices speaking out against these despicable acts by non-Muslim members of the public. We need to develop an attitude that when such an act takes place, particularly when one is not directly affected, that one needs to condemn it even louder than those that are personally offended.

The famous words of German pastor Martin Niemoller come to mind: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Any of these des-picable acts or any display of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia must all be opportunities for each one of us to speak out publicly and privately against these acts against humanity.

This is the only way that we will build the Rainbow Nation that our beloved Nelson Mandela spoke about, fought for and dreamt about.