THE man who on Tuesday claimed to have placed an Islamic State flag on his property and said his name was Fazwaz Bashir, is actually a tax consultant called Julien Moore and last week said he was only “joking”.
A probe by The Witness (Fever’s sister publication) revealed that Moore has lived in his home for 15 years and that this is not the first time a controversial poster has been placed on his Pinetown property.
But Moore believes he is the brunt of a “prank” and he was only playing along as a “hoax”.
While at first not admitting that he was actually Moore and maintaining his name was “Bashir”, he eventually conceded that he had concealed his real identity. “My neighbours have a vendetta against me. For all I know you could be my neighbour talking to me,” he told The Witness.
“They have previously put up posters of [Robert] Mugabe and [Adolf] Hitler on my property,” said Moore, who claimed he had not erected the Isis flag.
He retracted his previous statements of supporting the Isis attacks in France and said claims that his son was fighting for Isis were “false”.
The former Zimbabwean said his son lives in the United Kingdom.
However, asked why he continued with the “hoax” instead of removing the images from his property which had been up since Saturday, he said: “Why should I?”.
Various neighbours contacted by The Witness alleged Moore often put up images on his own accord, which few took notice of. They said he generally kept to himself.
“In the past, the police have been consulted for some of the images erected in his property but nothing has ever come of it,” said a neighbour.
On Tuesday, Moore told The Witness that he had a right to erect the image of the Isis flag and that it was “freedom of expression”. He said his son was fighting for Isis and he would not feel bad if he died as he would perish “a martyr”. At the time he called on his neighbourhood “not to worry” as his flying the flag was “not an issue for the suburbs” but one directed at the global powers bombing Syria and Iraq.
Freedom of Expression Institute’s (FXI) Sheniece Linderboom, head of the law clinic, said providing the image or flag doesn’t incite hate speech, a person has a right to express themselves freely. “It could be offensive to some but others are entitled to believe what they want but it must be understood whether it would incite violence if it is to be considered hate speech,” said Linderboom.
She said any South African may display any image. “In this particular case a neighbour could challenge it in the Human Rights Commission but this would be on a case by case basis on what the commission ruled.”
Linderboom said currently hate speech is broad and there is a need for it “to be defined”.