On Saturday 4 May, South Africa received reports of possible ‘terror attacks’ targeting US and British citizens in the country.
The US Embassy and Consulate website published a statement on Saturday warning US citizens in South Africa that ‘” terrorist groups” planned to attack shopping areas where US citizens could be found. According to the statement, this information came as a result of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant calling for its members to carry out attacks during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The British embassy also issued a similar statement on its website.
In September 2015, the US issued a statement warning of terrorist attacks as well, with none taking place. What are the reasons for another statement? Could it really be that our country is a hotbed of Islamic militancy without most of us knowing? South African Muslims are not known for their terrorism. Other than an unfounded Daily Maverick article about Al-Qaeda having supporters in the country, there have never been any blatant threats or attacks. The South African government issued a statement that the country faced no immediate danger, yet there is still a sense of tension for many people, with Facebook and Twitter erupting earlier this week with commentary about the possibility of an attack.
The entire episode is problematic. South Africa is a country currently experiencing a destabilising amount of dissent, politically, socially and economically. We are vulnerable, and have almost been downgraded to junk status and are currently being bombarded by chickens by the same Western powers now overly concerned about our security measures. It’s all a little suspicious, and seems like a deliberate attempt to create panic and fear. South Africa may not be a rainbow nation. We may still be living with racism, sexism and homophobia in our midst, but the one thing we have going on is a relatively peaceful religious coexistence. South African Muslims have contributed positively to the country, and from all the non-Muslim-majority countries in the world, we are probably given the most freedom to practice our religion.
It’s the second day of Ramadan, and if US and British expats feel unsafe in our country because of the threat of terrorism, that’s unfortunate. They’re more likely to be mugged than bombed. Using the analogy of the sharks and the coconuts here – you’re more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than a shark attack.
The Western powers have created similar issues of fear in countries before. The strategy is to make a country think they are being threatened, force them to ask the West for help to get rid of the threat, then bomb the country to smithereens in a guise of “killing the terrorists”. It happened in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and it might happen here, if we don’t realise the power-play happening under the table.
Written by: Mishka Wazar
Originally published: activateonline.co.za/south-africa-and-the-moozlum-threat