Home NewsAsia Viral List Accuses Influential SA Muslims of Being ‘Anti-Indian’

Viral List Accuses Influential SA Muslims of Being ‘Anti-Indian’

by Zahid Jadwat

This list of supposed Islamic Leaders in South Africa accused influential South African Muslims of being ‘anti-Indian’. 


A viral poster has accused influential South African Muslims of being ‘anti-Indian’. The list, featuring individuals from a variety of spheres including politics, media and welfare, has been fiercely dismissed as propaganda meant to instigate trouble within the country’s tight-knit Indian community.

Speaking in an interview on Salaamedia, Dr Faisal Suliman of the South African Muslim Network, whose name and organisation appeared on the list, alleged foreign interference meant to drive apart the Indian community in SA.

Prominent faces on the widely-circulated poster include international relations minister Dr Naledi Pandor, former Durban mayor Fawzia Peer, trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel, businessman Schabir Shaik, Moulana Ebrahim Bham and 35 others.

Salaamedia and two of the humanitarian broadcaster’s on-air presenters, Nafeesa Dangor and Shabnam Palesa Mohamed, were also placed on the list. Other NGOs, such as the Caring Sisters Network and Darul Ihsan Islamic Centre were included.

“The Indian government has money to spend,” he said, adding, “We would be naive to think that the Indian government – and the Modi government particularly – is not operating in South Africa”.


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Dividing the community

Since arriving in the late 1800s, Muslims and Hindus of Indian origin have mostly coexisted peacefully. They participated side-by-side in the anti-apartheid struggle and served together in different sectors of society.

However, the community is not immune to recent political developments in India. Rising Islamophobia in that country, fuelled by deepening Hindu nationalism, is no exception.

“I have seen posters by people who were involved in the anti-apartheid struggle who are now leaning towards the RSS-type of thinking … When challenged, they simply go underground, which is a bit disappointing,” said Suliman.

“We have seen that there’s a strong RSS troll group,” he said. He was referring to the far-right, paramilitary Hindu nationalist organisation called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – or RSS for short.

“I know one Hindu colleague who posted something once on this group about Uyghurs – not even about Modi or anything like that, but about the treatment of the Uyghurs – and she was telling me she was trolled incessantly by RSS supporters.”

He warned a growing Indian expat population in SA, allegedly stoked by Amit More, might mean “a greater onslaught on the Muslim community [and] greater lobbying at government-level against Muslims”.
“The Indian nationals are more in IT, working behind the scenes, living in areas where you won’t even know but they are extremely strong. We saw it when Modi visited here for the first [South African] BRICS Summit many years ago,” he said.

The poster was shared on WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms together with a message from an unknown sender warning about More’s potentially divisive actions.

“He’s constantly driving a wedge between Hindus and Muslims in the South African Indian community, by labelling those who criticise Modi and the BJP as “anti-Indian, anti-Hindu, pro-Pakistan”,” read the message.

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