This letter is a response to your article dated June 26, 2007 titled “Racism rocks Botswana Muslims”. It is true that the majority of Muslims in Botswana are of Indian descent, but that has not stopped us, as I am also of Indian descent, from spreading the word of Islam amongst our fellow countrymen. Alhamdulillah, many Batswana have embraced Islam and hopefully many more will continue to do so.
According to Mr. Al Hasan Lentswe, a Motswana Muslim, Indian Muslims in this country degrade and look down on the black Muslims. Islam is a beautiful religion that teaches us that all are equal, no matter one’s colour, status or origin, because we are all on this earth for a short while. When we die, we are all buried the same way and will proceed to the hereafter with only our deeds from this life to save us from the fire of hell. Why then would we disobey Allah and not treat everyone similarly?
I am an “Indian sister of Selibe-Phikwe”. One of us has been accused of stating that “our people” will not eat food prepared by a convert. After reading your article, I took it upon myself to find out if this accusation had any bases of truth. I have found that no body can recall any such wedding celebration, and if such a celebration did occur, the Indian sister cooked only out of the kindness of her heart.
The Muslim Community in Selibe-Phikwe is a small one, but nevertheless, a very close knit community. The women of this community have done some tremendous work in helping out disadvantaged people, especially children in and around our area. At a recent congregation, which involved the mayor of our town, Mr. Benjamin Bagayi, he said that the Muslim community had done a lot for Phikwe. He said we “have lots of passion…a passion to give and help others.”
The claim that we are racist is a hurtful one, one that has made many people angry, especially by the statement, I quote, “one Indian sister in Selibe ÔÇô Phikwe” who, when preparations were being made for a revert sister’s wedding ceremony said, “One of us must cook or else our people wont’ eat.” It is untrue and very misleading as it was not verified before printing in this newspaper.
I would like to appeal to all Muslims in this country to unite as we have to take a stand for our religion; Islam has been dealt some below the belt blows around the world. We are all labeled as terrorists and extremists. Little conflicts like this are what other religions feed on, they can now say that there is even unrest amongst ourselves, not just with others.
On behalf of Selibe Phikwe Muslim Association.