Western Cape Premier Exhorts Christians, Muslims, Jews to Religious Tolerance

August 24, 2004

Source: AllAfrica.com/Cape Argus


On August 24, 2004 Cape Argus reported, "Fundamentalism, of whatever sort, is the greatest threat to world peace and co-existence. This was the message from Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool, when giving a welcoming address at a function at the weekend to celebrate the centenary of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council). After a warm reception, Rasool exhorted followers of all faiths - and more specifically Christians, Muslims and Jews - to recognise the dangers of religious and political fundamentalism and to strive to combat it by forging bonds between moderates in the respective faiths. He said it was significant that the Jewish Board of Deputies in the Cape was formed shortly after the promulgation of the Cape Immigration Restriction Act of 1902 which thwarted the immigration of Yiddish-speaking Jews to South Africa. He praised those founders of the board, who 'with foresight, stayed on and stemmed the tide of European anti-Semitism and acts of bigotry in various communities including the one into which I was born.' Rasool said it was an irony that the SA Muslim community had celebrated, on July 24, 100 years since the decriminalisation of Islam in the Cape. Rasool then made an impassioned plea for the followers of these three foundational religions of the world to realise that they could be appreciated as diversity - a diversity which was 'complementary rather than adversarial and antagonistic.'"