Durban — Religious groups and leaders of all faiths and backgrounds held an interfaith prayer in Durban on Wednesday in solidarity with the BRICS countries.
The organisers, Friends of BRICS, gathered to pray for peace and harmony for member countries. The BRICS summit, held in Sandton, is a gathering of emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – which are attempting to strengthen their muscle in the global economy and politics.
Moulana Shaik Wahid Al Saadi said that being part of the BRICS bloc was the only way that South Africa can achieve its full potential.
“We can lower our unemployment rate and fight all other ills we are facing as an emerging country. We cannot keep having our resources harvested from our country and then get them back only when they are being sold to us,” he said.
He said that this prayer gives the believers of different faiths the opportunity to come together in an act of solidarity and goodwill and to emphasise the common values of the religions of the member states involved.
The participants in the prayer gathering had a peaceful demonstration with some of their placards saying: “We love Indians, We love Africans, We love humans.
South African Minority Front leader Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi said South Africa required this kind of partnership to meet the 2030 goals of sustainable development.
“We have already missed this year’s goals and for us to make it for the 2030 goals, we need partnerships like this. Obviously, we cannot do this all on our own, so we need each other regardless of our religions,” she said.
Ashin Singh, a Pietermaritzburg magistrate, said that Africa was the poorest continent and South Africa was poor as well.
“There is a lot we need to fix as a country before we sell ourselves to the world. We should thank the late AmaZulu king for fostering good relations between Indians and the Zulu nation,” he said.
KwaZulu-Natal philanthropist and founder of the Sivananda World Peace Foundation, Ishwar Ramlutchman, said BRICS was a much-needed global formation.
While the prayer and peaceful demonstration of solidarity took place, there was also an anti-BRICS protest in front of the offices of the Indian Consulate. The protesters complained about the insignificance of the summit. They also brought up environmental issues around the proposed mine in Melmoth. The SAPS ordered them to stop their protest.
Desmond D’sa, who was leading the anti-BRICS protest march, said the interference by the police made it clear that there was still limited freedom in South Africa, as they were not allowed to voice their concerns openly
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