Tuesday, 10 January 2017
The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission) strongly condemns the desecration of places of worship. Recent incidents of concern in the Western Cape include the placing of a pig’s snout on the gate of Noorul Islam Masjied in Simon’s Town on Saturday morning (7th January 2017) and a further incident at the Masjidul-Jamiah in Kalk Bay on Monday (9th January 2017), where the mosque was splattered with blood and Holy Scriptures damaged.
“The South African Human Rights Commission strongly condemns these actions, which display a flagrant disregard for constitutionally enshrined rights to freedom of religion, dignity, and equality for all.”
“Freedom of religion is a human right and all places of worship are sacrosanct. Our Constitution protects freedom of religion and thus we cannot allow this type of action to persist in a society based on equality and diversity,” said Prof. Bongani Majola, Chairperson of the Commission.
The SAHRC is heartened by the swift action of the South African Police Services and the criminal investigation, which is underway. The Commission calls on the SAPS to intensify its efforts to identify the perpetrators.
The Muslim Judicial Council has lodged a complaint, arising from the incidents, with the Commission. The Commission is assessing the situation, with a view to initiating its own enquiry into the matter once the perpetrators have been identified.
The Commission is established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution of South Africa to support constitutional democracy and is mandated in terms of section 184 (1) (a-c) of the Constitution to “promote respect, monitor, and assess the observance of human rights in South Africa”.
The Commission has further powers in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA), which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, religion, ethnic or social origin, colour, culture, and language, (amongst others.)
PEPUDA also prohibits any behavior, which “undermines human dignity” or “adversely affects the equal enjoyment of a person's rights and freedoms in a serious manner.”
The Commission calls on South Africans to condemn the desecration of places of worship, and further calls on South Africans to affirm, respect and celebrate religious differences.
Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission
Gail Smith – Spokesperson, SAHRC
For more information contact: