The South African Hindu Maha Sabha has come under fire for issuing a statement around the subject of religious intolerance. The Sabha has positioned itself slamming Chandra Ellaurie’s actions, against the Islamic institute as “unacceptable”. The Madrasah Taleemuddeen Institute has had their call-to-prayer muted by a High Court ruling in favour of Chandra Ellaurie. In his filings to the court, Ellaurie has complained that the Muslim call-to-prayer gives the Isipingo neighbourhood “a distinct Muslim atmosphere”. Judge Sidwell Mngadi from the Kwazulu-Natal High Court issued a court order preventing the Madrasah from issuing the call of prayer. Ellaurie had also requested the Madrasah to be shut down however the judge refused to issue such an order.
“The unacceptable action of a single person does not change that. We always preach religious tolerance and respect.”
The Hindu Maha Sabha posted a notice on social media lending support to the Madrasah in wake of the recent outcry over the landmark ruling by the KZN High Court.
The statement on the Sabha’s official Facebook page read, “Against the Background of the recent Azaan Matter, we have lived together for 160 years as a community respecting all cultures, all religions and generally all South Africans. The unacceptable action of a single person does not change that. We always preach religious tolerance and respect.”
Hindus react to Maha Sabha Statement
The public statement supporting religious intolerance by the Hindu body has come under criticism. Some users are voicing their support for Ellaurie, here are some of the comments by social media users,
I really and truly have no objection to the azaan. However, I do object to having the azaan blasted into my home every day,5 times a day, announcing that ‘There is no other God besides Allah’I have no objection to their beliefs either. However,I find this infuriating and disrespectful. As a representative of Hindus,I really think the Hindu Maha Sabha should address this.
And as a Hindu organization, shouldn’t somebody from this organization contact Mr Ellaurie and gain a better understanding of his stance and either support him as a Hindu or educate him to accept what he finds unacceptable.
Another social media user commented, “Where were these outcry’s when a Hindu temple was destroyed in Port Shepstone a few weeks ago???. I am not against the azaan in any way or stopping anyone from performing prayer but this matter has been blown out of proportion. The court ruled that the mosque needs to abide by bylaws, it did not say azaan must be stopped. We saw images of an entire temple destroyed, murthi’s over 100yrs old crumbled in dirt and dust. Even a luxmi tossed in dirt and yet there was no outcry, there was no grandstanding by any organisation. There was very little support in the way of protests etc.”
The biggest criticism was another social media user who called the statement by the South African Hindu Maha Sabha as unnecessary and “to be alarmist for no reason, irresponsible and nonsensical.”
The Hindu Maha Sabha responded to criticism saying, “Your reaction and comments are noted. The SAHMS represents the majority of HinduOrganisations in SA and has been since 1912. Decisions taken at meetings are by way of consensus and this decision was no different. Whilst you may have a view which we respect there are many others who share a different view. Some Hindus felt so strongly about the issue that they took to the streets on Sunday.”
Last week Sunday afternoon, members of the Tactical Shooting Team (TST), lead by Rivaaj Ramdas drove through the streets of Isipingo, south of Durban, in a motorcade, airing the “Azaan” via a loud hailer. Ramdas says this act of solidarity was to show support for the Islamic community and their right to air the “Azaan”. He says the plan is in place to continue other forms of peaceful protest action, read more here
The Isipingo Hindi Sabha has also voiced its support with South African Hindu Maha Sabha against the ruling. The Jamiatul Ulama of Kwazulu Natal has joined the motion of appeal against the ruling, while the Isipingo Beach Christian Fellowship has also given their support to the Madrasah.
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