Outcry over Durban pastor's views on Hinduism and his parents' conversion to Christianity
This comes as a video of a pastor who made disparaging remarks towards Hindus made the rounds on social media.
SA Hindu Dharma Sabha president Ram Maharaj said they lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Council and the matter had been reported to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.
Maharaj said they had also written to the Office of the President to complain about attacks on Hindus.
In the video, Durban evangelist Simeon Bradley Chetty, of Revival Ministries, said his father was Telugu and his mother Tamil, that they had worshipped idols and “other gods”, and that the name of Jesus was above every other name. He said his parents had converted to Christianity.
This is the latest video that has drawn the ire of Hindus. Last month, the Daily News reported on a video made by an eThekwini Metro Police officer that offended Hindus.
The outrage led the police officer to apologise.
Maharaj said people had the right to express themselves, but this had to be done with responsibility and restraint. He said it had become an annual occurrence that Hindus would be attacked on social media platforms during the time of Diwali with incendiary posts. “Enough is enough,” Maharaj said.
“It is highly orchestrated and aimed at denigrating and attacking Hinduism in South Africa,” he said. Maharaj said they were open to dialogue as long as it was done in good faith and promoted discussion and harmony.
African Union Interfaith Youth Forum's South African representative Vedhan Singh said it appeared that there was a third hand at play. He felt like people were bored and decided to attack religions. He said the attacks on Hinduism and other religions happened periodically. The recent attacks on Hinduism bordered on hate speech, Singh said.
He added that it should be noted that this was not reflective of the situation on the ground, as there was interfaith cohesion among people and there were not many people who stirred trouble. “People like this need to be nipped in the bud,” he said.
The Daily News was unable to contact Revival Ministries. However, an apology by Chetty was posted on Facebook.
“I accept that some of its content caused an outrage on social media. I would like to place it on record that it was never my intention to offend members of other faiths as I came out incorrectly,” he said.
Chetty attributed the comment to his “zealousness” over the transformation in his life and asked for forgiveness. He said his comments did not represent his church's views.