Minister of Police, Bheki Cele says he is not apologetic about the arrest of Muslim worshippers arrested for gathering during the national state of disaster last week.
“I’m not sorry we arrested Muslims, I’m apologising for how it happened,” he said.
It would appear that the minister’s apology was misinterpreted since he has clarified that the only apology he was making was for the blasphemous remarks made by the police officers and not for the arrest itself.
The officers ordered the Muslim worshippers to lie down before hurling insults at them. They went on to ask them whether they thought the president was crazy or whether they thought Muhammad was bigger than president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Social media went abuzz with criticism from members of the Christian faith asking why was the apology only given to Muslims and not to Christians also citing preferential treatment for Muslims.
A statement from Cele’s office reads, “The minister has noted with concern the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the statement issued in relation to the religious gathering. He has subsequently emphasised that no one is above the law, and that the Muslim community is not receiving preferential treatment as opposed to other religions,”
His office further said that if Muslims or other groups hosts another gathering, police will arrest them again without being blasphemous.
“Our members should always execute their duties in line with the police code of conduct. From the beginning of the state of disaster through the lockdown, we have received reports about complaints of incidents where some of our members are alleged to have acted wrongfully. A number of these reports are being investigated both by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) internally,” minister Cele said.