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Kazi death results in strong calls to end racism

Cii News- August 14, 2012

An array of government officials and civil society organisations have denounced the murder of the Muhammed Fayaz Kazi and other incidents of racial and religious intolerance.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) joined the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commision) in robustly condemning any form of racial prejudice.

“The South African Human Rights Commission has noted with concern the killing of Muhammad Kazi in what appears to be a racially motivated incident in Magaliesburg, North West,” the SAHRC said in a statement.

Kazi (27) and his business associate, Anser Mahmood (33), were en route to Ventersdorp last Monday when they stopped in Magaliesburg to break their fast.

An argument allegedly broke out between Kazi and two Afrikaner males at a fast food outlet. Kazi reportedly passed away as result of the attack early on Tuesday morning.

The Commission said that although the facts are not clear, they condemn any religious or racial intolerance in the strongest terms.

“South Africa is a diverse country with many cultures and religious beliefs that should be respected at all times,” the statement said.

It further said that the commission will continue to monitor this incident, adding that they call on the law enforcers to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to book.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation also voiced their disdain. In a statement, the organisation said they were, “horrified and condemn in the strongest terms possible, the vicious murder of Mohammed Kazi and the beating of his friend Anser Mahmood in Magaliesburg’.

“The taking of another life and the barbaric treatment of one human being by another is not only criminal but belies the festering racial hatred that still exists in South Africa today. This cruel and inhumane incident stemmed from disrespect and loathing of others on the basis of their skin colour and religion,” the organisation said.

Ahmed Kathrada, has been an anti-apartheid veteran and a close associate of South African icon Nelson Mandela.

The foundation mentioned the current Boeremag treason trial currently underway in South Africa.

“This killing also comes against the backdrop of the end of the Boeremag treason trial where again a group of white Afrikaners were planning to overthrow the current government and replace it with a white’s only one. Included in their plans was an intention to ship Indians out of South Africa and the mass evacuation of Africans out of SA,” the foundation said.

They further said that the racism in South Africa needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and must be condemned at every level.

Kazi suspects denied bail – Case postponed

The court proceedings in the Muhammad Fayaz Kazi murder case was postponed for 7 days in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning after the two suspects were denied bail.

After a long wait by media, family and supporters, they were prevented from seeing the suspects who appeared privately before a judge in an adjacent court.

Shortly after the private hearing the suspects were whisked away much to the surprise of all those gathered.

Community activist, Zahid Asmal said the family was upset at what transpired in court.

“ We were all seated in court and I was tipped off by court officials that a private hearing took place,” he said.

Asmal further said that South African courts should be opened to everybody.

“We were denied the opportunity to witness first hand the people that allegedly killed Fayaz Kazi,” he said.

Court officials cited ‘due process’ when quizzed about the motive for the change in events.

“They said Anser Mahmood must first identify the suspects before they can appear in public,” Asmal told Cii News.

Mahmood was one of the victims who was with Kazi when they were allegedly attacked by two men after being mocked about their Islamic appearance in Magaliesburg last Monday.

HashimBhai Motara, Kazi’s father-in-law, broke down outside the court. With tears rolling down his face he told Cii, “All we want is justice so that we are not continuously reminded about what happened. During these last few nights of Ramadan people should make dua [pray] that Allah gives the family patience and in particular my daughter. It is very difficult for her.”

Condemnation

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic communities (CRL Rights Commission) said they were deeply disturbed and concerned about the alleged religious attack .

The oganisation’s chairperson, Dr. Reverend Wesley Mabuza said that it was tragic that after 18 years of democracy, there are still members of communities that verbally and physically attack others because of beliefs.

“We cannot over emphasise the need to condemn this unreservedly ,” Mabuza told Cii news.

The organisation said that their deepest condolences go to the family, friends, and community of the deceased.

“This whole unfortunate episode is further compounded by the shocking and disturbing fact that this unbelievable killing of Kazi Fayaaz happens also during the holy month of Ramadaan.”

Mabuza said that he suspects that the incident was perpetrated by trouble makers who, “will find anything so that there is a kind of turmoil in the country”.

“I cannot for the life of me understand how one human being can do it to another person simply because of his belief and his appearance,” Mabuza said.

At the court, supporter Fadheela Patel said that it was unfortunate that Islamphobia is on a rise in South Africa.

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