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Faith Leaders Meet Over Religious Conflict

NEWS: South African faith leaders meet to discuss regulations protecting the religious rights of citizens following Revival Ministries church saga. A virtual meeting comprising of Muslim community leaders, the executive of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha and various Christian leaders was hosted on Tuesday, 7 July 2020.

The Hindu Maha Sabha was represented by its president, Ashwin Trikamjee and Professor Brij Maharaj, Guru Nandha, Mr Khanaya while Cyril Pillay, Wayne Thring, Jameel Essop, Takalani Mufumadi, Stafford Petersen, Aaron Munsamy, Shane Govender and Cyril Palany were the collective of Christian leaders. The Muslim community’s interests were represented by Mohamed Kharwa and Dr Faizel Dawood. The virtual meet went on to discuss conciliatory processes and social cohesion strategies relating to the religious rights of South Africans. According to the joint press statement, “It was agreed that the religious leaders present, representing their different constituencies, would work toward establishing a platform for dialogue in order to address issues of conflict between the different religious groups. It was understood that leaders of faith carry influence and would use that influence to foster peace and harmony, two key variables to the construct of social cohesion. Furthermore, educating members of the different faiths was considered key to establishing a sense of community, along the path to social cohesion.”

The inaugural meeting also recognized the need to include other religious constituencies who are keen to be part of this historic joint venture.

Our dialogue was frank, robust, yet respectful and forward-looking in the sense that it was recognized that systems and structures should be set in place to de-escalate tensions which may arise between the different religious groups. It is in this sense that we will look at preventative measures to ease religious tensions and where this fails, processes of mediation and conflict resolution would be encouraged.

The aim of this joint project by the South African religious leaders aims to formulate, a common global undertaking that shapes regulation around issues of religious conflict.

Revival Ministries missing from the mix

Speaking to Indian Spice, Cyril Palany confirmed that Dr Allen Joseph and Reverend Llewellyn Joseph of Revival Ministries did not participate in this first virtual meeting. He declined to comment on the matter further stating, “The matter with Revival Ministries is sub judice, therefore, our engagement was not to discuss a legal issue. Our engagement with the Hindu Maha Sabha and Muslim leaders was to find a way forward so that such an incident is not repeated. We are aware that the Sabha represents 90% of Hindus and is a credible registered entity. The matter with Revival and Simeon is in the legal process and we cannot comment on that process.”

On the issue of other splinter religious groups, Palany iterated that there are some Hindu organisations that are not working in the best interests of the Hindu community. “We are also aware that the splinter groups with their own agendas exacerbate the problem and sadly those smaller groups are not open to dialogue.”

The Revival Ministries church face legal action by various South African religious bodies. Attorney Sivan Samuel, representing the church’s Reverend Llewellyn Joseph and evangelist Simeon Bradley Chetty, believes his clients have done nothing wrong. read more here

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