Friday, March 27, 2015

South African Muslim Network JOINT STATEMENT ON VIGILANTISM

Human rights are the basic and inalienable rights that are divinely bestowed on every human. Currently we are witnessing atrocities of the worst kind plastered daily in the media headlines. The need of the hour is the revival of the Islamic spirit of not only justice and equity, but also of compassion and mercy. The first step is for us to embrace this spirit within our own lives, a step which we all have the power to do.

Indian-origin author Zainub Priya Dala assaulted in South Africa for 'praising' Rushdie

Recently Sister Zainub Dala expressed the view at an academic workshop that she admired the creative ability and writing style of Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy. It is alleged that in response to that statement 3 males stopped her car, held a knife to her and assaulted her with a brick, leaving her with physical injuries and severe trauma.  

In Shariah it is unlawful for any person to take the law into his or her own hands. Even if a lawful authority finds that a crime has been committed, the punishment can be meted out only by the lawful authority. The position is no different under South African Law. If this were not the case then the result is vigilantism, kangaroo courts, lawlessness and social anarchy. The alleged wanton aggression of the 3 thugs is sheer criminality. In the case of sister Zainub, she committed no crime.  

In terms of the South African constitution, we have (within certain parameters) freedom of expression and freedom of belief. Here all faiths have greater freedoms than that enjoyed by most countries in the World.

In fact, we are the envy of most Muslims who visit our country from abroad. The criminal acts of the intolerant misguided few can have harmful repercussions. The result will be disharmony with the other communities in South Africa, restrictions on the cherished freedoms enjoyed by all citizens and even xenophobic attacks on minorities.  

While there is no indication of the religious affiliation of the assailants, as a matter of principle in the Shariah, regardless of whoever they are, the Muslim community is united against the un-Islamic actions on sister Zainub, which are unequivocally condemned.  

We call on all to disassociate themselves from and to denounce such acts of delinquency. We also urge everyone to be extra vigilant and help us remove this cancer of hate crimes, whether in writing, or speech or action.   

 This statement is supported by:

UNITED ULEMA COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA   (UUCSA)
MUSLIM JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA   (MJC)
HABIBYA SOOFIE MOSQUE - WESTVILLE
SOUTH AFRICAN MUSLIM NETWORK   (SAMNET)
WOMEN’S CULTURAL GROUP   (WCG)
JUMMA MUSJID TRUST – GREY STREET MUSJID
ASSOCIATION OF MUSLIM SCHOOLS   (AMPS)
ISLAMIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION   (IMA)
MINARA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
MUSLIM VISION 2020
ISLAMIC BURIAL COUNCIL


Indian-origin author Zainub Priya Dala assaulted in South Africa for 'praising' Rushdie
An Indian-origin author in South Africa was brutally assaulted and verbally abused after she praised controversial writer Salman Rushdie whose work has angered Muslims around the world. Zainub Priya Dala was hit in the face with a brick last week after she praised Rushdie's writing at a school in Durban, a city on the country's east coast. 

Dala had been due to launch her novel What About Meera in the city on Saturday, which was ironically Human Rights Day in South Africa, but had to postpone it after being injured. She was reportedly followed from the hotel where the festival was taking place by three men in a vehicle who forced her car off the road. When she stopped her vehicle, two of the men came to the car, one allegedly putting a knife to her throat while the other struck her in the face with a brick as he verbally abused her.

Dala said she believed the attack occurred as a result of a comment she made during a writing forum for schools earlier in the week, when she and two other authors were asked to comment on their favourite authors. She replied that she liked the styles of Rushdie and Indian author Arundhati Roy, which led to a number of teachers and students attending the workshop walking out in protest. Reacting to the attack, Rushdie said the attack on Dala was "appalling and disgraceful". "I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope you're recovering well. All good wishes," Rushdie said in a tweet.

In her reply, Dala said: "Thank you. I have my family and children around me and am recovering." Dala has filed an assault case with the police but there have been no arrests yet amid an appeal for any witnesses to come forward. Steve Connolly, managing director of Random House and her publisher, said: "We condemn completely the brutish attack on author ZP Dala." "Have we reached such a state of intolerance that we cannot listen to one writer profess admiration for another without wanting to attack her with a brick and a knife?

"It is ironic that at a time when the communities of Durban are welcoming writers, some elements are attacking those writers who hold different views. We must not let this shameful and violent bigotry prevail," Connolly said. Rushdie spent a decade in hiding following a fatwa by Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989, calling for his death because of controversial views in 'The Satanic Verses.' Muslim outcry led to withdrawal of an invitation to Rushdie to a South African literary festival in 1988. A similar situation prevailed in India in 2012, when Rushdie withdrew because of death threats he had received.

More about blasphemy
Also see:
IHEU Freedom of Thought Report 2013 
"As (Allama) Iqbal placed the body of Ilm Din into the grave, he tearfully declared: "This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones." Courtesy the Brown Pundits blog: http://brownpundits.blogspot.in/2014/05/ghazi-ilm-ud-din-shaheed.html#more
Mahmoud Mohammed Taha was a Sudanese religious thinker and leader executed for apostasy at the age of 76 by the regime of Gaafar Nimeiry. (See his Court statement)