By MICHAEL T. SPINKEABENERThe Associated Press – ST.
AUGUSTIN, Texas (AP) As the country grapples with a surging wave of anti-Semitism and rising racism, one of the country’s most prominent Muslim leaders is calling for calm.
Militants have claimed responsibility for the recent attacks on mosques in the country, but Islamic leaders say it’s a tactic used to discredit Muslims, who are a key voting bloc in South African politics.
Mubarak Njoro was speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the South African Islamic Council in St. Augustine, Florida, as the country faced a rising wave of criticism over its anti-Muslim policies.
He urged fellow Muslims to remain in their homes and said the Islamic leaders wanted peace and calm for South Africa.
Njoro said that in South Sudan, Muslims were the majority in some areas, but the majority is still in a minority in others.
Njono’s comments came in response to reports that extremists had carried out several recent attacks targeting mosques and other sites that Muslims call holy places. “
We are going to continue to be our own people, and we will continue to live in our own way.
Njono’s comments came in response to reports that extremists had carried out several recent attacks targeting mosques and other sites that Muslims call holy places.
He said he does not believe South Africa should follow South Sudan’s lead.
The South African government has blamed a series of attacks on anti-Islamic protesters in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, for triggering the countrys worst crisis since the war between South Sudan and Sudan erupted in 2014.
More than 4,000 people have been killed since fighting erupted between the government and rebels over a divided region of the world’s youngest nation.
In addition to attacks on religious sites, a Muslim man was shot and killed last week by a sniper on a highway in the southern state of Rambu, a day after a police officer was shot dead by a man on the same stretch of road.
South Sudan has been rocked by violent attacks on minority groups.
In early August, a mob attacked the offices of a local government body that oversees schools and a mosque, killing four people.
The government has called the mob a terrorist attack and vowed to hunt down the killers.
Authorities say the violence has prompted tens of thousands of South Sudanis to flee the country and are worried about the country spiraling into another ethnic war.
The countrys top religious leader, Ibrahim Abu Khatib, warned last week that South Sudan could be plunged into another war and warned that his people were “not in the best of health.”
He warned that the country could become a “breeding ground for terrorism.”
The attacks have prompted calls for South Sudan to stop blaming Muslims for the country s problems.
South Africa has long been a hub for South American migrants fleeing poverty and violence in the region.
Many of them are Sunni Muslims, while a few other groups, including Christians and indigenous tribes, are predominantly ethnic South Africans.
South Sudan has faced a decades-long civil war, but there are signs that its ethnic conflict is worsening.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has repeatedly blamed his countrys government for the conflict, saying its leaders were responsible for instigating violence.
South Korea and other Asian nations have been among the few countries to call for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
In a statement Tuesday, the Korean government said South Sudan should “cease all acts of violence and extremism, including attacks against Muslims and any other religious group.”