|The ‘X’ word has struck again. Foreign, especially nationals from other African nationals, are once more caught in yet another new round of xenophobic attacks.
Others have termed the phenomenon ‘Afrophobia,’ as it seems the attacks are mainly targeting immigrants from within the continent. Regardless of the label one wants to tag the sentiment that seems to fuel the attacks, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa would like to appeal to the public to immediately put an end to this latest episode of a cycle of violence.
In this crisis, it is important to take a pause, step back and reconsider the damage this is causing to our own humanity. Taking the law into our own hands, whether to vent up anger or in retaliation to an assault will simply deepen the tension and animosity among communities without taking us any closer to a resolution.
For far too long now, in spite of our cries of “Never Again!” that we made especially at the low point of similar attacks back in 2008, we have seen, albeit on a small scale, continuous and regular flare ups and flashes of attacks on foreign nationals.
It is sad to say that it now seems we have chosen to remain on the straying detour that is characterised by hate, destruction and lawlessness. We cannot realise ourselves as a normal society in which our pastime is the lampooning, maligning and the attacking of ‘other people’ who don’t look or speak like us.
We appeal to our leaders to speak unequivocally in condemnation of these attacks that are accompanied by looting, bodily harm to persons and even fatalities that have been reported, especially in Durban.
Within the communities, it is important to ensure that rogue elements and ill-disciplined youth are not allowed to take advantage of the situation by hijacking legitimate campaigns and peaceful protests that are turned violent to cause mayhem. It is under the cover of such disorder that vulnerable individuals such as migrants and their possessions are targeted.
The current atmosphere, where rumours of supposed impending attacks are being circulated via social media to instil fear in the minds of foreign nationals, does not bode well for the easing of tensions. It is therefore important to refrain from broadcasting and relaying such messages so that normalcy is restored.
For the longer term, we urge our government to look at the various recommendations made by advocacy groups, human rights bodies and other research institutes on migration.
The need for security for the country is non-negotiable. At the same time, migration as a modern day trend, just as it has been in history, also has its benefits to the host nation. It is crucial that any policy-implementation in response to the recent events should be a balance between the needs of the country and the realities on the ground, in as far as possible, without diminishing the dignity of humanity as a collective.
We support the steps and initiatives the government has taken in addressing the current crisis. We also commend relief agencies that are working to provide the much-needed help to the displaced.
We pray for peace and lasting solutions that enrich South Africa as a modern non-racial, plural and inclusive society.
Cii News | 25 Jumadal Ukhra 1436/15 April 2015
At least five people have been killed in areas around Durban during several days of looting and violence against foreigners. In Durban’s CBD on Tuesday, a car was set alight and police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and teargas canisters in clashes between looters and foreigners. Several makeshift refugee camps have sprung up for affected foreigners across the province, amidst reports that the Somali and Malawian governments are preparing to repatriate their citizens to spare them further harm.
As key role players within South Africa’s democracy, local Ulama have been vocal in their criticism of this latest wave of hostilities, seeking a return of law and order, whilst advocating for the root causes of such mayhem to be addressed.
In the wake of the latest xenophobic outbreak, a number of scholars have suggested that the time is ripe for excessive Dua and deep introspection.
Below are a collection of messages from leading Ulama and Muslim community leaders, compiled by Cii Radio.
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