CTII and WCRLF issue joint statement on Mosque vandalism


Cape Town Interfaith Initiative (CTII) and Western Cape Religious Leaders’ Forum (WCRLF) are deeply saddened by an incident this week in which eggs were thrown at the Bait Ul Awal Masjied in Athlone.

On Tuesday, 9 February 2021, around 10pm, 4 cars drove slowly past the Bait Ul Awal Masjied.  An occupant of one of the vehicles was seen to pelt the Masjid with eggs. The cars then drove off.

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.

 Archdeacon Mark Long, Chairperson of WCRLF, said: “History has taught us that small acts of contempt left unchecked turn easily to more damaging violence, conflict and loss. We are therefore compelled to call out such actions of separation, particularly in this time of pandemic where additional stress on a community is not only criminal and cruel, but also potentially highly inflammatory.”

 CTII Chairperson, Reverend Berry Behr said: “The Covid19 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 practice what they believe, but nobody has the right to hurt others.”

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.

CTII and WCRLF both 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 Masjied 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 Cape Town Interfaith Initiative and the WCRLF.

When we lose the right to be different, we lose the right to be free. – Nelson Mandela

Compiled by Rev Berry Behr and Archdeacon Mark Long