NEWS: The anti-Hindu remarks made by Reverend Llewellyn Joseph and evangelist, Simeon Bradley Chetty has various South African Indians calling for a review on religious governance in the country. The South African Hindu Maha Sabha is in the process of calling a meeting with church leaders to find a way forward following the recent series of defamatory attacks against the Hindu faith.
In the most recent video that surfaced on social media, Reverend Llewellyn Joseph of the Revival Ministries Church at Chatsworth, south of Durban is seen comparing “curses and spirits” that people face, to Kavady, which is a Hindu religious festival dedicated to Lord Muruga. In a previous video, evangelist Simeon Bradley Chetty of the same church, Revival Ministries of Chatsworth, had also made anti-Hindu utterances against the followers of Hinduism. Both incidents have led to widespread condemnation from South Africa’s Hindu community and religious leaders who are leading a charge against Chetty and the church of Dr Allen Joseph.
Speaking to Newsbreak, Hindu Maha Sabha president, Ashwin Trikamjee explains further,
SA presidency responds to Hindu Unity Movement
The Hindu Unity Movement of South African (HUM) in a letter to the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, urge the government to review the existing legislative framework to protect South Africans against religious attacks.
The Hindu Unity Movement (HUM), in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, urges the government to review and tighten rules and regulations in current legislations to prevent religious attacks by individuals, groups and organisations on other faiths.Rising Sun, Chatsworth
According to the Rising Sun news story, chairperson of the Hindu Unity Movement, Jayraj Bachu said, “The president’s office has responded by informing us that the matter has been referred to the CRL Commission for consideration. One’s relationship with God is most private and intimate. You don’t have to slander and demean the beliefs of other faiths. Putting other religions down to boost your religion is not a good quality for a spiritual person to have. We believe the time has come for the constitution to allow for more stringent and punitive measures to punish anybody, who has the temerity to denigrate any religion whatsoever.”
The Hinduphobia incidents by Revival Ministries
In Simeon Bradley Chetty’s initial video that he published on his Facebook fan page, the evangelist angered Hindus and Muslims by stating the following, “My father was a Telugu, my mother was a Tamil and while they were growing up they said- you know what, they have no meaning- they worship idols, they worship other gods. But I am here to tell you that the name of Jesus is above every other name. Let me ask you this question, why would a Telugu man worship Jesus? Why would a Muslim man worship Jesus? Why would every religion give their life to Jesus?”
The evangelist made these utterances in public, during the lockdown in South Africa, contravening the governments call banning public gatherings. The evangelist then issued apologies following the outcry, where he distanced the Revival Ministries church from his actions. His apology video has been rejected by the South African Indian community.
A week later, the founder of Revival Ministries, Dr Allen Joseph had another video on social media site Facebook. This video was uploaded in February 2020 where his son, the Reverend Llewellyn Joseph, is heard making anti-Hindu comments during a church service.
The reverend refers to Hindu gods as ‘curses and spirits’ that promote fear and envelope homes especially during the religious festival worship of Thaipoosam kavady. In the first few seconds of the video clip, the Reverend Llewellyn Joseph is heard saying, “The fear, that that curse or those spirits are working in and through your home, and every time when it comes along that Kavadi time, the previous time, you just feel the heaviness come upon your family and your home.“
Responding to the allegations, Rev Llewellyn Joseph, in his response to the Rising Sun issued an apology on behalf of his father and founder of the Revival Ministries, Dr Allen Joseph.
“We would like to confirm with all humility that no malice was intended. I take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly for any and all offense which was taken,” he said.
The apology has not been published on any of their official Revival Ministries social media pages nor has an official statement been issued by the Revival Ministries church to the public other than the apology published in the Rising Sun, Chatsworth front-page story.
Swift action must be taken, say South Africans
Apart from the letter to the South African president, complaints relating to toxic video content and allegations of Hinduphobia and hate-speech have been lodged with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Council of Religious Leaders (CRL), social media platform, Facebook, and the Film and Publications Board.
Various South African individuals and organisations are calling on swift action to be instituted against the Revival Ministries church, the evangelist, Simeon Bradley Chetty and Reverend Llewellyn Joseph for their Hinduphobic utterances. Joint complaints have been lodged by the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha and the South African Hindu Youth Movement who are calling appropriate action is taken against these Hinduphobia incidents.
The Revival Ministries church, the management team and evangelist, Simeon Bradley Chetty have not responded to any queries by Indian Spice.
Source inputs: Rising Sun Chatsworth | SABC Newsbreak