South Africans unaffected so far by Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’
Aron Hyman | 2017-01-30 16:58:04.0
A man waits for a taxi near the Nazamiye Masjid mosque – the largest in the southern hemisphere. File photo.
Image by: MOELETSI MABE
US President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees from several Muslim majority countries has not yet affected South Africa.
According to the Department of Home Affairs and the Muslim Judicial Council there have been no problems for South African citizens reported yet.
The order which was signed over the weekend by Trump and referred to as a “Muslim ban” by the US media‚ stopped people from entering the USA‚ even with a valid visa.
It affected people from 7 countries including Somalia‚ Libya‚ and Sudan but has been temporarily halted by a court order which deemed it unconstitutional.
Department of Home Affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni said South Africa was not on the list of banned countries and they weren’t aware of any incidents involving South Africans.
He said it would be a “grave mistake” to discriminate against South Africans based on their appearance because South Africans are free to choose which faith to follow.
“In South Africa we are a diverse community‚ we don’t separate people and say you are a white South African‚ you are a black South African‚ you are a Muslim South African‚ we are just South African people carrying our passports‚” said Apleni.
“I don’t know how they would say ‘no‚ this one is a Muslim’‚ by looking at their face. Because there are Muslims who are black people‚ there are Muslims who are white people‚ they choose in South Africa which religion they want to follow‚” he said.
Islamophobia was also reported to have become more prevalent in the US following the election of Donald Trump but an attack on a mosque in the Canadian city of Quebec caused fears that violence against Muslims might spread.
But MJC spokesperson Shuaib Appleby said that the South African government and society has a different political past with regards to interfaith relations.
“Our South African situation is different from what you find in America. Our foreign policy is based on Ubuntu‚” he said.
“Our historical background is quite different from other countries and that is why in effect we don’t envisage the same pattern to exist as in America because that’s coming from the president and the government itself‚” said Appleby.