Employees suspended over anti-Islamic e-mail
A Leading motor vehicle manufacturer has suspended two employees — one of them a senior staff member — for allegedly disseminating an anti-Islamic e-mail.
Mercedes-Benz South Africa this week suspended tax manager Frank Booyzen and another employee, after receiving complaints from Muslim watchdog body the Media Review Network (MRN).
MRN chairman Iqbal Jassat claimed the e-mail, which was originally circulated a few years ago, was “propaganda” that emanated from an Israeli Zionist website. It contains a series of photographs showing the arm of a child being run over by a motor vehicle.
“It was made out to be Islamic shariah (law) and that this was how little children are treated when they are caught stealing.
“It was later learnt that the picture was actually part of a sequence of photographs showing a child being used by performers as part of an act to get money from onlookers,” said Jassat.
He said the recently circulated e-mail, written in Afrikaans by Booyzen, raised questions about Satan and devil worship. “There are a lot of biblical references, advocating Christianity as a superior religion and the need for people to turn to Christ. And people who are responsible for inflicting such damage and harm on this little kid are people who need to be saved,” said Jassat.
The e-mail ends with the words: “This is why, when they do get to know the love of Jesus, they become total converts and come to realise that they have served a cruel, loveless god.”
According to Ibrahim Vawda, a senior researcher at the MRN , the e-mail “ fuels Islamaphobia and demonises the religion”.
Booyzen, 48, claimed the e-mail “said nothing against any religion”. He said: “I am a Christian and stand by what I said in the mail. As far as I’m concerned, I have not said anything against any group.
“My mail was for internal people for a prayer group we have in the company . .. to send a message to them that we should not take things like this and start hating one another.”
The identity of the second employee has not been disclosed.
Annelise van der Laan, spokesman for Mercedes-Benz South Africa, said it was regrettable that a number of its employees had allegedly circulated, via company e-mail and against company policy, an e-mail that might have been offensive to the Muslim community.
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