Supreme court hears Athaan restrictions case


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Right-wing fringe groups in South Africa may be emboldened by what they’ve seen in India, the UK, and the United States. The South African Muslim Network’s Dr Faisal Suliman says that the attempts to silence the call to prayer (or athaan) in KwaZulu-Natal is symptomatic of this growing trend. A madressa in that province has headed to the Supreme Court of Appeal to overturn a ruling that silenced the athaan, and their right to freedom of religion. Suliman says that the bold anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from India’s BJP and its Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be taken seriously. His comments come as the British city of Leicester, which has a mixed population of minority Hindus and Muslims, has witnessed heightened tensions recently. Over the weekend hundreds of Hindu men wearing masks and balaclavas marched through the city, chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, a slogan that has become emblematic of Hindu radicalism in India. They threw bottles, and taunted Muslims who were at mosque, and randomly beating people. The Muslim community has also raised questions about how the police would allow the Hindu march to proceed, as it made many feel unsafe.

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