Thursday, October 22, 2020

Muslim convert claims religious discrimination

A Gaborone based Motswana Muslim lawyer is considering to relocate from Botswana on the grounds that she is being discriminated by her colleagues  the public at large due to her Islamic religion 

However Law Society of Botswana (LSB) says it is not aware of any discrimination targeted at Muslim lawyers.

In an interview with The Telegraph this week Thurai Bathusitse Mooketsi from Mochudi village in Kgatleng district said she has been subjected to discrimination for being a Muslim woman and a being private attorney.

“I encounter ill-treatment and discrimination.  I am considering relocating from Botswana to a more tolerant country.  I am yet to decide which country,” she said.

She added that it started some years ago when she got married to a Tanzanian man who is a Muslim and has worked in the judiciary for sometime in Botswana.

“Everybody abuses me verbally and I am now unable to stomach it anymore,” she said. 

Mooketsi said that some of the worst discrimination came from her family when they described her as a “lost woman” because of Islamic region that she has chosen.

She said with time her family decided to accept her and tolerate her religion. 

But Mooketsi added that still some of her relatives view her as a “lost woman.” 

“I remember disturbing incidents in which I was being verbally abused by my colleagues while in court premises just because of the religion that I belong to. This hurts a lot,” she said. 

“What hurts me most is the fact that I am being called all sorts of names that include jihadist even to the extent that I am being accused to be a Boko Haram activist.” 

Mooketsi said that she intends to take up her concerns with the relevant authorities including petitioning President Ian Khama.

When contacted for comment the chairman of Law Society of Botswana Lawrence Lecha said he was not aware of discrimination against Muslim lawyers. 

“The constitution of this country does not allow any discrimination based on religious orientation.”

“If my mind serves me well I am only aware of only one lady who is a Muslim and she participates in all the activities conducted by the Law Society,” said Lecha.  

Mooketsi’s brother Councillor Tona Mooketsi said it is true that his sister is a Muslim and initially that brought some challenges for the family. 

 “It was hard to accept her religion but due to her patience she took us along and made understand and appreciate her religion as a family and that eased tremendously the tension between us,” he said.

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