Xenophobia in South Africa: understanding the humanitarian attitude and role of Islam and Muslims in the recent xenophobic attacks on 'foreigners'

SOURCE: Theologia Viatorum: Journal of Theology and Religion in Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2009
TITLE AUTHOR(S): Y.Mataar
KEYWORDS: ISLAM, MUSLIM, XENOPHOBIA, XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 5993

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Abstract

South Africa is a constitutional democracy that strives to protect "everyone" with regard to "equality and human dignity" including minorities, namely religious minorities such as Muslims, and even 'foreigners' via the Constitution. In spite of the existence of strong and all-encompassing anti-discrimination legislation, intolerance, and bigotry towards 'foreigners' from Somalia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi in particular, proceed unabated. Consequently, community hostility festered, especially in poorer urban communities and eventually erupted into deadly violence. As a minority religion, Islam and its adherents, Muslims ought to relate to the plight of other minorities such as 'foreigners'.