WITH the colors of Pan Arabism and the words ‘Palestine’ written in bold, Johannesburg’s new major Thapelo Amad made his inaugural appearance. The politician and imam is a member of the far-right, minority Al Jama-ah (Arabic: الجماعة, lit. ’the Congregation’) party, which has found itself with a golden vote, as part of a strange coalition between the Metro’s ANC and EFF.
All three parties have diverging, and perhaps irreconcilable policies when it comes to the status of LGBT, women, secularism and the Middle East.
While the Al Jama-ah manifesto opposes “moral sexuality education for primary school children to ensure they not issued with soft porn material in violation of the sexual offences act”, it has a host of feel-good policies on poverty alleviation, economic upliftment and the like.
But it significantly also opposes events such as Gay Pride, much like its counterparts, Fatah and Hamas, and is actively positioning itself to introduce moral policing in the Metro, informed by scripture.
The ‘Palestinian Embassy’ in Johannesburg were quick to shower Amad with awards in the aftermath of his successful mayoral campaign (see photo left).
One need look no further than a press release by the party in October 2022 which takes issue with News24 and its supposed “Diabolical Headlines” where the party strangely felt the need to respond to a news-story about a potential ISIS attack.
Amad’s party proceeded to upbraid reporter Qaanitah Hunter for ‘implying that only Muslims are opposed to Gay Pride’. The party then went on to claim there are several Christian organisations also ‘vehemently opposed’ on religious grounds.
Hunter claims the News24 report referred to, “implies that only Muslims are opposed to the Gay Pride event; they are aware that there are several Christian organizations — based on religious grounds – that are also vehemently against it.”
Amad’s Party ‘vehemently opposed’ to Gay Pride
The Party according to spokesperson Shameemah Salie “does not identify with any LGTQ (sic) activities whether it be Gay Pride parades and even comedy shows, it rejects any insinuation in which Muslims are not just negatively implicated but persistently fingered for wanting to cause chaos in that city. Whether – from a religio-theological perspective – we determinedly disagree with their forms sexual orientation and their queer belief system, it should unambiguously be stated that most of our communities do not support these LGBTQ groups.”
According to Salie: “Their lifestyle is condemned and unacceptable with the practices of Islam and Muslims. “
She also accused News24 of Islamophobia and said: “The paper’s repugnant headline undoubtedly is an unambiguous expression of purposeful Islamophobia; they want communities of other faiths to view Islam and Muslims negatively.”
The statement also said the party was “aware of constitutional rights” of LGBT and would find ways to ‘deal with them’.
Ed note: Secularism, as the man who coined the term George Holyoake asserted in his principles of Secularism, is not the absence of religion, but rather the absence of religious rule.
In particular Holyoake stated “A Secularist guides himself by maxims of Positivism, seeking to discern what is in Nature—what ought to be in morals—selecting the affirmative in exposition, concerning himself with the real, the right, and the constructive. Positive principles are principles which are provable. “
UPDATE: The press statement now appears to have been taken down alongside all the party’s press material and is no longer available on their website. However the document pdf and its url is still referred to on the Net and a copy is in our possession, and available below: