An NMMU administration assistant has come under fire for an e-mail sent from her university account that complains about Muslims praying in Westering and says they should move back to their own country.
The e-mail has sent shockwaves through the Port Elizabeth Muslim community after it was uploaded to Facebook last week.
“It seems that Muslim[s] love to push their religion on the western world and expect us to tolerate and accept this, but it is about time that we as western[ers] stand up and say enough is enough ,” it reads.
“If they want their so-called centre then they must have it [in] their own country.”
While the e-mail was sent from Hazel Kendrick’s NMMU account on Monday last week, she claims it was hacked.
“I am very distressed about this,” Kendrick said yesterday.
“My e-mail has been hacked, and apologies to anyone for the inconvenience.”
Kendrick works at the university’s chemistry department.
It seems the e-mail stems from an application by the Westering Jamaat Khana, which received permission from the municipality to gather and pray at a house in Boshoff Street.
The application was approved by mayor Athol Trollip during a mayoral committee meeting in October.
But the decision is being reviewed after objections were received.
A screen grab of the e-mail that was circulated online has the full name of the sender, but the receiver had been blacked out.
The e-mail quotes Jiggs McDonald, a National Hockey League Hall of Fame broadcaster from Canada, saying at an event in Ontario that opposed the building of a mosque in Orillia: “I think it should be the goal of every Canadian to be tolerant.
“Thus the mosque should be allowed … in an effort to promote tolerance.
“I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within [it]. We could call one of their clubs, which would be gay, The Turban Cowboy, and the other, a topless bar, would be called You Mecca Me Hot,” he said.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said a case of crimen injuria had been opened at the Kabega Park police station by Sadick Davids, an amier of the Westering Muslim community.
NMMU spokeswoman Zandile Mbabela said the university had received a formal complaint on Friday. An internal investigation had been started.
“NMMU vice-chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz has personally apologised to the complainant for the offence caused, stressing the university does not tolerate or support religious discrimination and intolerance of any kind,” she said.
Mbabela said NMMU supported the rights of all people, including those of the Islamic faith.
Speaking at a community meeting on Saturday, Davids described the e-mail as offensive, derogatory and humiliating.
“It’s very sad that people in this day and age can act as immature as the one mentioned in the e-mail,” he said.
“The lady that wrote the e-mail is not alone and, moving forward, we want this lobby group to stop harassing Muslims and infringing on their constitutional right to practise our religion and freedom of worship.”
An application for a place of worship at the house in Westering had been approved.
“But a group of people objected, saying that property values would decrease, theft would increase and the neighbourhood would lose its good reputation,” Davids said.
DA Federal Youth chairman and MP Yusuf Cassim said the application for a place of worship in Westering had been approved by Trollip on October 12. Cassim attended the meeting on Saturday. “The application was approved subject to certain conditions and several objectors submitted a request for a review of the mayoral resolution.
“The request is being assessed by the town planning sub-directorate,” he said.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki referred all questions to mayoral spokesman Sibongile Dimbaza.
“I would rather that the statement comes from the mayor himself,” Dimbaza said.
Trollip could not be reached for comment.