Abramjee takes on commissioner over Valhalla mosque uproar

2016-08-25 20:28
Yusuf Abramjee (File, Who's Who SA)

Yusuf Abramjee (File, Who's Who SA)

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Johannesburg – Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee on Thursday called for the suspension of a commissioner at the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL), saying the official is the person behind the objections to the Valhalla mosque in Pretoria.

Abramjee said Richard Botha has been at the forefront of the campaign against the construction of a mosque. 

"Botha's comments are Islamophobic - instead of promoting religious tolerance, he does the opposite," Abramjee said.

Abramjee said Botha had made inflammatory statements which border on hate speech on several radio stations. 

Botha told News24 that he had done nothing illegal.

"I am just representing the 3 000 residents of Valhalla who requested me to represent them," Botha said.

He said he was not against the construction of the mosque, however he claimed that residents were never given the opportunity to voice their opinions on it.

Online petition

The chairperson of the commission, Thoko Nonhle Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, said the commission was waiting for more information about Abramjee's complaint.

Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the commission cannot investigate the complaint, and will have to submit it to the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. 

"We need more proof of the allegations, maybe like newspaper articles or any form of evidence for us to forward to the speaker," Xaluva said.

"The speaker is the one who makes the final decision and not the CRL."

Abramjee said the right to religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution and Botha was acting against the principles of the Constitution and the commission.

"Botha said if Muslims wanted a mosque they should go to their areas. His comments were also interpreted as being racists," he said.

An online petition to have Botha expelled had already received over 850 signatures.

Abramjee urged the commission to immediately investigate Botha and take appropriate action.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  religion

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