Wednesday, August 08, 2012

South African Muslim Man Beaten to Death Over Beard

Miranda Andrew
August 7, 2012.

Ventersdorp - A Muslim man has been beaten to death in Ventersdorp, allegedly by two people who insulted him because of his beard, a family friend said on Wednesday.

Mohammed Fayaaz Kazi, 27, was with his father's friend Anser Mahmood when he was attacked at a Chicken Licken outlet on Monday.

“Two white people... they called him (Osama) bin Laden in Afrikaans because of his beard...and then they called us k******,” Mahmood said on Wednesday.

“Fayaaz, he understood Afrikaans, and was arguing with them.”

All four were thrown out of the fast food shop, and the fight continued outside.

“I asked why they were troubling him and he punched me,” Mahmood, 33, said.

“I don't know what he hit me with. I was unconscious.”

Mahmood was mostly hit in the face. Kazi was beaten over the head.

Mahmood said he did not know what object was used to attack Kazi as he was lying on his side.

“Nobody helps us,” he said.

Kazi was transferred from one hospital to another before dying at a medical facility in Potchefstroom from brain damage. His funeral was held on Tuesday.

Mahmood said a murder docket had been opened at the Potchefstroom police station. Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubani could not be reached for comment.

Bin Laden was the founder of al-Qaeda, which the United States claimed was responsible for the September 11, 2001, suicide attacks on the country. He was killed by US soldiers in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. - Sapa

Comment:  The rise of Islamophobia across the globe is mainly because Muslims have been stereotyped into villains.

How does one account for a young Muslim man being killed in this manner?  When does a situation arise where two white men are so affronted by a beard that a Muslim life is taken in the name of a stereotype like Osama bin Laden?

I am not surprised that there are brutes in South Africa who think it is normal to taunt Muslims, to assault them, and to kill them in a fit of rage.

A large part of this mania is the global presence of mind that the US and its attachments have created - one that says it is OK to discriminate against Muslims and folks who may appear Muslim.

If you read commentary beneath stories about Muslims/Islam that appear on IOL and News24 you will find a significant number of racist/bigoted attacks against Muslims/Islam.

It is also true that you will find non-Muslims calling out racist and bigoted comments so I am not painting with a broad brush.

Nonetheless, the trend toward scapegoating Muslims/Islam is a kind of reflexive motioning that is drawn from the larger global campaign from which the US/Britain and others cannot easily be extricated.

South Africa with its troubled racist past and present is a ripe case for increased Islamophobia but I hardly think that this case was only about hating Muslims; it is also about white men feeling threatened and powerless in the post-apartheid state. 

For this reason I expect that Islamophobic attacks that involve violence against Muslims is most likely to be perpetrated by white men who are more likely to internalize the sh*t the West is doing to Muslims in general (particularly in the generation of whiteness non-sensibilities or rather, what it means to be white now).

In large part, a significant number of South African whites still align themselves with Western derived histories/narratives and cultural sensibilities - and inside of that motioning the tendency to conflate the "wars on terror" with the substance of whiteness is unmistakable.

Still, it is hard to say just how many whites will carry that conflation to acts of Islamophobic killing.

I expect that many white folks and a few others will be offended by what I am saying here.  Still, I hardly think that too many Muslims in South Africa worry that black/brown men will kill them on the streets because they look Muslim or like Osama (whatever that means to anyone at any time).

This is not to say that brown/black non-Muslims are not anti-Islam or suffer varying maladies of the Islamophobia kind - what I am saying is that I am not surprised that this killing was allegedly at the hands of two white men.

It makes sense and in a senseless motioning is not too far removed from the virulent bigotry that ended the life of 6 Sikhs in Wisconsin a couple of days ago.  It matters little that Sikhs are not Muslims in the convolutions of whiteness in the post-9/11 era, but it matters profoundly that those who are killing Muslims and folks who 'look' Muslim are predominantly white men.

May Mohammed Fayaaz Kazi rest in peace until that day.


No comments: