South Africans generally live in an environment of freedom of speech, religion and expression. This freedom is enjoyed by all who live in this land.
In a recent incident, two Muslim youths were subjected to religious profiling by a prominent food chain store in Durban North.
The youths, aged 15 and 18, were wearing the Muslim male dress or sowb as it is known, entered the store and observed themselves being followed by the store security. Three security guards followed the teenagers around the store as they shopped, before taking them aside once they joined the cashier queue.
They were then verbally abused by the security, who insulted them and drew comparisons to a recent armed robbery at the Gateway Mall shopping centre in Durban where the suspected criminals wore similar clothing as the boys. The two teenagers were embarrassed by this disgusting behaviour and reported the matter to store management, who subsequently apologised for the unruly behaviour of the security personnel.
Such acts of discrimination and religious profiling are unacceptable and against the constitution. South Africans enjoy diversity in faith, culture, traditions and practice of religion in our country. This right must be upheld, protected, and preserved at all times.
The behaviour of the security personnel is condemned strongly. No person should be disrespected, suspected, or profiled based on colour, religion, or ethnicity.
We also condemn in the strongest terms the use of Islamic apparel as a disguise by criminals at the recent robbery at the Gateway Mall, where a security guard was killed. A crime is a crime, irrespective of the dressing of the criminals. The dress code of the Muslim community should not be viewed with suspicion or disdain because of the acts of a few criminals.
Darul Ihsan Media Desk