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MUSLIMS: TOWN COUNCIL XENOPHOBIC

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MATSAPHA – The Kingdom of Eswatini is in high risk of finding itself in even worse economic challenges, where it will be unlikely for it to get back on its feet.


This is according to the Arab Muslim community from Matsapha, who claim that this could be a result of Matsapha Town Council’s alleged xenophobic attitude.


They made this claim  during the ongoing commission of inquiry into the affairs of Matsapha Town Council.
They labelled the council as having a xenophobic attitude after it threw out their application to build a mosque in the town.


Rejected



 They alleged that the council rejected their application because Eswatini was a Christian country.
“This is totally not Christianity but xenophobic attitude,” the Arabs alleged.


They claimed that all along, they had been trying to convince Arabian investors to come to invest in the country and everything was going well, until Matsapha Town Council rejected their application to build a small mosque in the town.
The submissions made during the inquiry remain allegations whose veracity is yet to be tested.


Their argument was that every Friday at 2pm, they left everything and went to pray.
They said the closest mosque was in Manzini and this meant that they had to close their businesses an hour before 2pm in order to be on time for their weekly prayer.


They alleged that after seeing that their businesses were suffering, they applied to council to sub-divide one of their plots in the town and convert it into a mosque.
“We took this move after we looked at the numbers of our community who operate businesses across the town,” they argued.


They alleged that their application was thrown out of the window by council, despite the fact that the town was an industrial hub of the country, which meant that there were a number of foreign investors. They alleged that they had seen xenophobic attacks taking place in South Africa but the republic survived the effects of the xenophobia due to its strong economy.


“Eswatini’s economy is not that strong and it cannot recover if it can receive the beating of xenophobic effects,” they alleged.
Furthermore, they expressed their disappointment on council that it was against the country’s Constitution, which allowed freedom of religion.


Effects


“This can be a start of xenophobia and Eswatini is not ready to experience its effects. Why is the council leading the country to a wrong direction, of developing a xenophobic attitude?” they alleged.
The members of the Arab community said they were concerned as to why Matsapha Town Council rejected their application as there were beautiful mosques in Manzini and Ezulwini.
It is worth noting that when council rejected the application for the construction of a mosque in the town, it said the area was designated to industries which would bring mass employment.

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