The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) wants the House of Assembly to debate “the apparent failure of State Security to stop South Africa from becoming a viable base for terror groups directly linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State”, said ACDP President Rev Kenneth Meshoe yesterday.
In a notice of motion to the Assembly he says the debate is necessary “particularly in light of the recent UN Security Council’s concern that 11 international terrorists might use the country as an operational base”.
Meshoe’s call follows media reports of leaked 2010 National Intelligence Agency document which alleges there are jihad training camps at Zakariyya Park in Lenasia, and at a farm in Port Elizabeth and in KwaZulu-Natal. The document also alleges that businesses in South Africa have been used as fronts to help forward the Iranian revolution. The document is part part of a large batch of leaked, classified documents which were published on Al Jazeera on Monday night.
ACDP MP Cherollyn Dudley has also given notice of a motion to move that the House debates “The Importance of protecting Freedom of Religion and Belief.”
Meshoe also addressed religious freedom, in a statement to the House yesterday, saying: “In April 2013, the British Parliament met to discuss the increasing incidents of persecution of Christians in Africa. The discussion was requested by the Honourable Naomi Long, who said, and I quote, “the right to have a faith and to practise that faith, both in private and in community with others, and to change one’s faith and not be disadvantaged or endangered for reason of one’s beliefs, is a basic and fundamental human right that should apply universally.”
The ACDP believes the time has come for our Parliament to also discuss the global persecution of people of faith. While we acknowledge government’s condemnation of all forms of terrorism, we nevertheless believe that with the increasing reports of abduction, rape and slaughter of Christians, and the burning down of churches, our government must be heard strongly condemning these acts of terrorism against the church, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
On behalf of the ACDP, I want to reiterate my call on government to lead the international community in defending the right of freedom of religion, and in the promotion of a culture of peaceful coexistence between Christians, Muslims, Jews and all other religious minorities.