Letters to the editor: November 27 to December 3 2015

Islam: Agent or victim?

Several commentators have argued that France has itself to blame for the Paris attacks because of the greed it displayed during the colonial era (Why Islamic State targeted Paris and why it’s changing tack).

This is, at best, only partly true: Islam is an extremely aggressive religion exhorting followers to “slay unbelievers” wherever they find them. It has long desired to bring the entire world under Allah, who, in the Qur’an, encourages violence against unbelievers stating, inter alia, he “loathes unbelievers” and “will punish them with a terrible agony, both in this world and in the hereafter”.

Consequently, non-Muslims can hardly be blamed for trying to ensure Islam – which bludgeoned its way amid great bloodshed to the gates of Vienna in 1529 and again in 1683 – remains weak and incapable of ­taking the lead in world affairs.

On this point, one notes that Islam was at the forefront of slavery for almost 14 centuries, that it reluctantly abolished slavery because of pressure from non-Islamic countries such as Britain, and has an abominable human rights record: several Islamic countries publicly execute apostates, homosexuals, adulterers and blasphemers. This is often done in a barbaric manner.

If Islamic countries want others to stop interfering in their affairs (and show less antagonism toward them), they should make concerted efforts to downplay religious texts that create the impression that Muslims are superior to people of other religions and have the right to force non-Muslims to choose between being executed, converting to Islam or paying jizya [a tax imposed on non-Muslims who live under Muslim rule], which, like slavery and piracy, is not dead. – 

Islamic countries – which often impose draconian punishments on those who insult Islam – should make it an offence to use any religious text in a sermon, speech or article that mocks or incites violence against people of other religions. Countries failing to comply could be punished with economic sanctions. – Terence Grant, Cape Town

Why pity the oppressor – the West?

The international community is described by some scholars as anarchic. But they do not take into account the damage caused by the existence of colonialism in all its manifestations and they ignore the mechanisms used by the Western states, especially the evil administration in Washington, DC, to undermine continental organisations’ work in the Middle East, Africa and across the Global South to solve their internal problems.

As Africans, we must be cautious of the United Nations, especially its Security Council: it has been a platform for our oppressor.

When the so-called “terrorist” attacks happened in Paris, we were told to mourn for France! Has France forgotten it is a developed country because of the hard labour and intellectual capacity of African slaves it captured and exploited?

How can an oppressed person pray for his oppressor? I am sure even God won’t listen to such prayers. Our hearts bleed when we see France attacking the Syrians, time and again; they bleed when the Palestinian people are massacred daily by apartheid Israel.

On our continent, our hearts bleed when we see the Burundi humanitarian crisis, attacks on Kenya and her people, the instability caused by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the violation of the human rights of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo by the M23 rebels.

The flag of France that many seem to worship after the attacks signifies greed to the people of the Central African Republic, where French companies enjoy large profits from extracting raw materials, while children die of starvation.

Karl Marx said: “Religion is the opium of the masses.” The West uses religion to blind the masses to its evil agendas. Muslims are scapegoats. Islamophobia is the project of imperialists. – Bhekithemba Mbatha

David Smith wrote it like he saw it

I loved the David Smith piece (I remember African hands that reached out to help me). The Guardian’s correspondent has done quite well out of Africa. His submission that he was “ashamed about being British” sums it up. The sins of the forefathers can never be those of those who came after.

Africa has had so many despots after colonialism, but they were not the product of colonisation. The opportunists took full advantage of the situation, blaming the “colonial masters” for everything bad.

I’m dubious about the fact that, after “just a week of dating”, he and his wife, Andrea, decided to get married. Similarly, I’m dubious about the “exceptionalism” he attributes to South Africans before and during the football World Cup.

I admire him as a journalist who wrote it as he saw it, but he had his own life in South Africa. Were his children given South African citizenship? I don’t think so. Smith didn’t mention that – just the hilarious bit about the inadequacy of forms.

Neither did he mention the disastrous effects of removing institutional memory from every organisation in South Africa. But he was spot-on regarding the disastrous result of the “anyone but [Thabo] Mbeki” movement. If Nelson Mandela had not given Jacob Zuma R1 000 000 (did anyone pay the gift tax?) so that he could live beyond his means, we would not be in a state of nongovernance and corruption.

Good luck, David, and good luck, South Africa. The latter will need it. – Tom Morgan

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