Don’t vote for Islamophobic DA

A Vote for the DA is a vote against Islam.

A Muslim voting for the Democratic Alliance is a Muslim voting against his or her interests. The DA has shown nothing but contempt for Muslims, our culture and our place in society over an extended period of time. Muslims exist only as voting fodder for the DA in the Western Cape.

The DA sings the song of unity in diversity for a little while, visits masjids for photo opportunities and generally misrepresent themselves as a party that has shared values with the Muslim people, but nothing can be further from the truth. These token gestures should be seen for what they truly are – empty electioneering.

The real agenda of the DA is so at odds with the values of Islam that any Muslim DA voter would have to manage an overwhelming internal contradiction, a cognitive dissonance that would wrack the conscience of an informed individual so profoundly that it would leave only one question for reflection – “Am I a Muslim, or am I a DA voter? I surely cannot be both things simultaneously.”

For example, take Helen Zille’s recent visit to Gatesville Masjid. On the face of it, Zille said all the right things at the right time. But what is even more important than what was said was what was left unspoken – the issue of Palestine. For all her talk of togetherness, the value of religious tolerance and her (cartoonishly simplified) take on issues such as the Syrian crisis, not once did she mention Palestine.

The issue of Palestine is one of great concern to all Muslims and humanitarians around the world. However, Zille’s Zionist backers would immediately and materially rebuke the Madam for speaking on the right side of history and justice. In the world of Madam Zille, Israel is not an apartheid state, Zionism is not racism and Palestinian political institutions and formations are terrorist organizations, not human rights groups. In the real world where the rest of us live, Palestinians live in a state of constant terror under the Israeli Occupation. To the Western powers, “Terror” is an act of violence, an event witnessed on the news or read about on the internet. To the Palestinian people “terror” is a perpetual emotion, a state of being, a subsonic ambiance that permeates all aspects of the daily lived Palestinian experience. Yet, Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian trauma surgeon banned from Gaza by the Zionist Occupiers of Palestine explained at a recent talk at UCT “People in Palestine, where the average age is 17, don’t want your sympathy or your money. They want you to please pressure your governments, to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction!” Not vote for the Democratic Alliance which sends its MP’s like Marius Redelinghuys and Yusuf Cassiem on jaunts to “Israel” so they can be shown how ‘nice’ it is for the people whose country they occupy. Men, women and children live and die under the boot of Israeli oppression and violence.

Helen Zille of all people should be well schooled in the ways of human rights abuses and the cruelty of its perpetrators. It was she who, while working as a journalist, exposed the brutal truth of the assassination of Steve Biko. Before that, her parents who named her Otta had to flee the religious persecution of Nazi Germany.

Of course, these things would mean nothing to Otta Helene Zille, all grown up into power and political expedience. Saying nothing that means anything to the assembled crowd, she disappeared into the night having rid herself of the obligation of having to associate with Muslims until the next time she needs a photo opportunity.

The DA is happy to use Muslims for such photo opportunities and votes, but what do Muslim voters get from them? In one word, nothing. When it is time for the Muslim community to ask the DA for recognition, services or support, the DA, its constituents and its structures actively work against Muslims. In Knysna attempts to build a Masjid have been blocked by the Islamophobic and intolerant community.

While the objections of the Islamophobic DA constituents range from blocking the view of the lagoon, concerns over parking, concerns that the proposed Masjid would be built in a conservation area (a favourite go-to engineered excuse of the DA), to concerns over noise, the real reasons for the objections can be found in a public meeting held by the home owners association, neatly summed up by two quotes from residents: “Why must they build in Knysna which is a predominantly non-Muslim area?” and most tellingly “No, not in our street”.

Residents of this area are quick to make things up as they go along, such as saying that they have the “right to live in a quiet and protected area”. Nowhere in the Bill of Rights is does this right exist, however the right to religious freedom is constitutionally guaranteed. Of course several things are exempt from this clause in the fictional Bill of White Rights, such as marathons, cycling events, functions of business such as delivery truck traffic and the wave of privileged rowdy matriculants who make their annual pilgrimage to the Garden Route to drink, party, drug and in general be a nuisance. But try to build a place of worship and watch the By-Law infractions being totted up by a group of conservative racists and Islamophobes who have the resources to take any objection to the highest courts. The DA is quick to use Mandela’s voice in TV adverts, but deliberately slow on the uptake to apply the principles of inclusion and tolerance that became his hallmark in post democratic South Africa.

In Knysna, the DA is suspiciously diligent when applying the letter of the procedure of public participation. It is surely the only area in the history of the DA where public participation was taken so seriously, because the interests being represented are those of its white, non-Muslim constituents.

The DA usually uses the public participation process and objections as toilet paper. When it comes to decisions that affect the protection of Muslim cultural heritage in Cape Town, it does not care one iota. The public participation process into the proposed development of a R1 Billion mall and apartment complex that would dramatically impact on the character and heritage of the Bo Kaap was a sham.

The DA has kicked this process into touch until after the elections like they did with their Princessvlei
development scheme before the last National Polls, at which point it will continue to give developers untrammelled access to land, regardless of the unique cultural heritage of the area. Its agenda is that of gentrification, because that is the best move to increase the values of property, culture be damned. Many residents have already been forced to move out because of the brute force economics of slightly inflated offerings on their homes. In turn, such properties are sold for a fortune many times over the original selling price to private owners, investors or developers. The DA treats Muslims as undesirables in an area that has been home to many generations of Muslims. The DA wants to maintain the facade of colourful Bo-Kaap style houses, but it wants the occupants out post haste. Its agenda is to develop Cape Town in a series of concentric circles of development, a remix of apartheid spatial planning with whites close to the centre of good services while Muslims have to settle for one of the outlying areas.

Even if you as a Muslim are prepared to somehow bury your honour under the DA spin of good administration, you cannot ignore that the DA have had more than enough time to tackle some of the societal ills that affect all poor communities in the Western Cape.

Remember that the DA only inherited the Apartheid-era coloured-preference Job Reservation policies and coloured Senior Certificate schooling designed to churn out people who could serve as clerks and supervisors, and This is why Cape Town is relatively well-run today. Not because of the white-interest DA.
More than 30 percent of South Africa’s drug related crimes happen in the Western Cape. The scourge of tik blights our communities. As the problem mainly affects the coloured community, of which Muslims are a large part of, the DA doesn’t care. That the vast majority of the drug related crime happens in this province points to a failed mayor, a failed MEC of community safety, a failed premier and a failed party. It has no strategy to tackle the issue of substance abuse. Dan Plato’s copy and paste solutions from Chicago have been an utter disaster. All they care about is grabbing control of SAPS from National Government, when no doubt they plan to simply do their job and claim responsibility for the huge improvements in policing.

With all of this, if you are Muslim and you vote for the DA, then the scales are yet to fall from your eyes, or you are doggedly holding those scales there. If you vote for the DA, you have to make peace with the fact that you are joining a constituency that is at best suspicious or intolerant of Islam and Muslims. It is time for Muslim people to stand up to the political and social abuse that Helen Zille and Patricia De Lille’s DA wreak upon the Muslim community in the Western Cape

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