Campaign against PAGAD in South Africa

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Our Correspondent in Pretoria

Jumada' al-Akhirah 10, 1419 1998-10-01


by Our Correspondent in Pretoria (World, Crescent International Vol. 27, No. 15, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1419)

Since the official ending of apartheid, South Africa has been gripped by a wave of violence, crime and drugs. There are many reasons for this but for ordinary people, all explanations are merely academic. They want relief and protection from this mayhem.

Visitors to South Africa have often remarked about the beauty of the country as well as the near prison-like conditions in which people are forced to live. Doors and windows have to be protected with iron bars; elaborate security alarms are installed and those who can afford, also have a security guard outside.

Fed up with such a situation, the community in Cape Town decided to protect themselves. A group calling itself People against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) came into existence to deal with the wave of violence and drugs. While the drug lords and their protectors in the higher echelons of society cried foul, ordinary people from all walks of life welcomed PAGAD. Led by Muslims, many non-Muslims also joined its ranks.

That the organisers of PAGAD were and are sincere is not in doubt. Where they seem to have miscalculated is that they allowed their ranks to be infiltrated by all and sundry, including many agent provocateurs. Many of the excesses attributed to PAGAD have in fact been perpetrated by these agents whose purpose is to tarnish the image of the group.

The most recent example of this was the bombing of the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Cape Town on August 26. Official representatives of PAGAD denied involvement and condemned the bombing. Yet the police and the media immediately jumped to unsubstantiated conclusions and began tarnishing the group.

Since the bombings, and without any proof being offered, Waleed Sulaiman, his wife and sister were hauled off a flight from Cape Town bound for Saudi Arabia. Waleed is a member of PAGAD when was on his way for Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) to Makkah. He was humiliated in front of other passengers and after two days of interrogation when nothing was proved against him, he was let go. But in the meantime, the damage was done.

The police had even shown video tapes of PAGAD meetings to the waiters of the restaurant to see if they could identity anyone as the perpetrators of the bomb. By a strange coincidence, the restaurant’s own surveillance cameras had stopped working. This is similar to the bombing of the World Trade Centre bombing in New York in 1993 where Muslims were accused but the building’s surveillance cameras were not working. Why?

PAGAD has been at pains to try to clarify the situation but in a climate of hysteria fanned by vested interests, it is very difficult. The Zionist establishment that was in bed with the apartheid regime of South Africa and is now trying to project itself as a ‘friend of the oppressed’, has been in the forefront of this campaign. But they have not had the field open to them.

In recent weeks, there have been a number of revealing articles in the South Africa media shedding light on the crimes of the Zionist regime in Palestine. There is no shortage of drumbeaters for the Zionist cause in South Africa but they have been taken to task. The Pretoria New ran two recent articles, one by Chris Gibbons (September 18) and the other by Jean-Jacques Cornish (September 19) exposing some of the unsavoury behaviour of the Zionists.

Jon Qwelane, the popular talk show host on Johannesburg’s Radio 702 has also had Zionist Jews for discussion. With input from the Muslims - at last - some of the myths created by the Zionists have been exposed. On September 17, the Israeli Charge d’Affaires Ze’ev Lauria and Seymour Capolavet, chariman of the Jewish board of deputies were on the show when Zafar Bangash was invited to join on a telephone line from Toronto. The Zionists were most upset and behaved like little children, much to the dismay of their own supporters. They screamed and made fuss like spoilt brats but were unable to respond to the challenges that were thrown at them.

The Muslims’ struggle is a long one. But one by one, the myths will be exposed. What Muslims need is to equip themselves with knowledge. They could make a start by subscribing to the Crescent International and getting the facts straight.

Muslimedia: October 1-15, 1998

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