Barricades around the central mosque n Bamako, Mali, where Imam Mahmoud Dicko led the prayer for the victims of the violent clashes earlier in July. Photo: MICHELE CATTANI / AFP
Barricades around the central mosque n Bamako, Mali, where Imam Mahmoud Dicko led the prayer for the victims of the violent clashes earlier in July. Photo: MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

There seems to be an ominous pattern emerging in SA religion that points a serious finger to the role it plays in our lives, and the question of how it should be readjusted.

The recent incident at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church cannot be seen as an anomaly but rather as part of this pattern that points to a bleak side of religion in our country. This pattern includes Tim Omotoso, the Krugersdorp killings, the use of illegal and sometimes fatal muti and traditional medicine, the rise of cults, untouchable pastors and other violent incidents.

The vast majority of South Africans are a traditional, reverent and believing people when it comes to religion and traditions. We are a religious, superstitious nation and these personal beliefs are a difficult subject to broach. In this time, however, more than ever there should be a sense of urgency about the question of religion and the role it plays in our lives

Perhaps we should keep an eye out for any signs of extremism that may be manifesting in churches and religious groups, such as the recent growing belligerence between religious sects in the North West and Gauteng and, even more ominously, the growing foothold of Islamic extremism taking hold in neighbouring Mozambique, suspicious enough to pique the interest of the SA National Defence Force who are stationed there.

Cameron Martin
Mount Croix

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