(File image) United States President Barack Obama

Johannesburg - The Media Review Network (MRN) and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said on Thursday they were appalled that United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle had been recommended for the Freedom of the City of Cape Town.

“An analysis of Obama’s presidency reveals a predatory rather than a peaceful first term in office,” the organisations said in a joint statement.

“He has adopted a bullying and coercion campaign against the Palestinians by cutting off financial aid and providing Israel with WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and funds.”

The MRN and MJC “questioned the wisdom” of the Democratic Alliance and of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille in deciding to give the Obamas the Freedom of the City.

“To bestow such an honour on an individual implies that he or she has contributed more than ordinary mortals to the design of a better life for all and in particular South Africans,” they said.

According to a report earlier this week, De Lille said she was recommending the Obamas because the couple exuded leadership, excellence and inclusion, which made them natural candidates for the city's highest accolade.

“For this city, as for the entire world, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are the guiding stars to our eventual destination. In a cynical age, there is a desperate need for universal hope,” De Lille was quoted as saying on Monday.

“Symbols that retain their meaning in these times, and ones that embody the qualities to which we aspire, are worthy of the highest recognition.”

The proposal would be sent to the city's rules committee for a recommendation to the council.

The MRN and MJC called on the DA to reconsider the decision.

“Don’t allow this insensitivity to further tarnish your common sense. The correct thing to do, morally and politically, is to withdraw the invitation,” they said. - Sapa