Reverend Berry Behr, Cape Town Faith Initiative and Archdeacon Mark Long, Western Cape Religious Leaders’ Forum
The Cape Town Interfaith Initiative (CTII) and Western Cape Religious Leaders’ Forum (WCRLF) are deeply saddened by an incident in which eggs were thrown at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at’s Bait Ul Awal Mosque in Rondebosch East.
While the incident itself is minor, the sinister undertones of premeditated violence against the community are cause for serious concern, particularly as it occurs in a context of ongoing harassment.
History has taught us that small acts of contempt left unchecked can easily turn to more damaging violence, conflict and loss. We are therefore compelled to call out such actions of separation, particularly in this time of pandemic when additional stress on a community is not only criminal and cruel but also potentially highly inflammatory.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for humans in all their diversity to work together for the security and survival of people and planet. People have every right to be who they are and to practise what they believe, but nobody has the right to hurt others.
The CTII and WCRLF call on local authorities to take acts of aggression against religious communities seriously. The right to religious freedom is a constitutional promise which needs to be safeguarded in the interests of a peaceful, prosperous, free and functional society.
Both the CTII and WCRLF adhere to the principles of the Charter for Compassion which states: “The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves”.
Bait Ul Awal Mosque is an active participant in the interfaith movement and is dedicated to building friendly relationships across all religions in South Africa, supporting the core values of CTII and the WCRLF.