Opinionista Rabbi Greg Alexander 15 March 2019

Jews stand by Muslims to say Never Again

I woke up this morning to the news of the horrific shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. In what appears to be a murder that was long and carefully planned and executed, these men have transformed a place of prayer and study into a place of death and destruction. As a Jew and a rabbi, I want to reach out to all our Muslim brothers and sisters and say that our thoughts and prayers are with you. That your cries are our cries and that our hearts are bleeding.

Thoughts and prayers are appropriate – but they’re not sufficient. If the world tuts and looks away then humanity has learned nothing from yet another horrific hate crime. This might have happened half-way across the world, but mosque worshippers have been murdered in Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal last year and we are not doing enough to stop this happening again.

I say clearly to the Muslim community in Cape Town that when any person is attacked for their belief, all humanity is attacked. We, the Jewish people, are sadly no strangers to prejudice, and we stand with you and all people who value the Constitution of this country that enshrines the right to practise your faith without fear or prejudice. Chapter two states in our Bill of Rights that everyone has the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion.

I want to invite any Muslim in Cape Town or beyond to join our synagogue for our Ifthar Shabbat on Friday night, 31 May during the holy month of Ramadan. For the past three years it has become an annual tradition to invite our Muslim neighbours to come and break your fast with us at our shul. We will make a space available in the centre of our sanctuary for you to pray Maghrib and we will provide Halaal food for you to break your fast with our community as we welcome our Sabbath together.

Some people of faith, and certainly those critical of religion, might be tempted to ask how a G-d of mercy and compassion can allow something like this to happen. The answer must be that G-d seeks the best from humanity and is devastated by their moral failures. That any concept of a deity that would want its followers to walk into a house of worship and kill must be an idol of human creation. I have to believe that the G-d of all creation is crying today. May we respond with compassion and kindness to make this world a world that will never allow this to happen again. DM

Rabbi Greg Alexander is rabbi at the Cape Town Progressive Jewish Congregation, the biggest Progressive synagogue on the African continent

Gallery

Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?

Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.

Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.

*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.


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