Cape Town - From asking if he had achieved fame for a post apparently calling for a mosque to be burnt down, to then apologising, and later condemning his detractors as racist, a Langebaan man has reached infamy on social media.
"I think it’s a crime that no one is sanding up to those muslim bastards blaring their call to pray 5 times a day over massive speakers [sic]," posted Liam Christian Ferreira of Langebaan on Facebook over the weekend.
"Why do i need to put up with an Arabic tradition created in the dessert thousands of years ago."
Ferreira ends his post by declaring: "Stand up for yourselves!!! Burn it down!!!"
News24 contacted Ferreira for comment, but he had not responded by the time of publishing.
After he was approached by another user, Waseema Amodien, about his post, Ferreira apparently messaged her: "Am I famous yet?" By then, he had removed the post from his timeline, telling Amodien that he had "deleted [it] for a reason beyond your understanding".
'Formal and personal apology'
Later, Ferreira responded to a number of critics by offering a "formal and personal apology" to those who had read his post and its "incitement of violence… I made a grave misjudgment which i will endeavor never to repeat".
Ferreira identified his "misjudgment" as being his "metaphor of burning down a religious building".
The Langebaan resident went on to "stress" that his post "was not an assault on the nation of Islam, rather a rant aimed at the people in question".
Asked, by other users, to clarify what exactly the issue was, he answered: "Volume."
However, as users continued to question his motivations behind the post, Ferreira appeared to begin to defend himself against their criticism.
Asked by someone if there is not a racist element to his comment, Ferreira suggested that "islam is not a race, arabic is not a racist, you are racist".
He then proceeded to tell the detractor: "I will not defend myself to a big fish in a tiny pond, whem [sic] i have been around the world."
'Why must we hear that awful wailing sound?'
Amodien then responded, telling Ferreira that his apology was "insincere".
"You apologised for trying to incite violence but made no apology for your discrimination and prejudice in itself…
"You’re only sorry because you’re in trouble… And then still argue with people."
On Tuesday, Shawaal Nakidien, chairperson of the Langebaan mosque committee, said that they were planning to meet to discuss the matter.
"The big thing is not to become emotional, but to handle it effectively," Nakadien told News24.
He said they would use their meeting to determine an appropriate reaction to the post.
Meanwhile, a post praising Ferreira by John Roodt, in which he said, "the kids [sic] got a point", also raised the ire amongst Facebook users.
"Why can’t Muslims send out an SMS call to prayer? Why must we hear that awful wailing sound? Muslim use White man’s tech like mobile phones, cars, electricity, loudspeakers etc… but they can’t use the tech communicate? It’s BS [sic]," declared Roodt.
'Let him be prosecuted!'
However, Ferreira was admonished by many others, including Fozia Kasoojee, who asserted: "Liam you ought to be ashamed of yourself."
Many users called for restraint in the response to Ferreira, as per a Muslim way of life.
"May the almighty pardon u liam…a nd as a muslim can I just say our deen [faith] is so pure its peacefull if almighty can forgive who r we not to forgive [sic]," suggested Wiedaad Davids.
Others suggested that Ferreira’s comment was hate speech and that legal action needed to be taken.
"Lay a charge – let him be prosecuted!" urged Jan Jacobs.
Shameema Mohamed also pointed out that one could also hear church bells in suburban areas.
"Where I live the church bells go off beautifully on a Wednesday evening and then for most of the weekend… Funny how some of us can live together in harmony and with tolerance and openmindedness…"
"Those church bells are a part of my day," Mohamed said.