Al Jama-ah Joins Miss Universe Protests

Al Jama-ah on Wednesday weighed in on the controversy surrounding the participation of Miss SA Lalela Mswane, in the Miss Universe to be hosted by Israel next month.

On Tuesday organisers of the Miss SA pageant insisted Mswane would not be bullied into missing out on her dream to participate in the Miss Universe pageant.

Calls – spearheaded by icon Nelson Mandela’s grandson Chief Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela – are mounting for Miss SA to boycott the Miss Universe pageant.

On Tuesday #Africa4Palestine claimed Miss SA  Mswane, who holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Pretoria, withdrew her participation from the Israeli-hosted Miss Universe pageant.

However, Miss South Africa Organisation CEO, Stephanie Weil, said reports that 24-year-old Mswane was pulling out of the competition were “completely unfounded and untrue”.

Reacting to the comment, Al Jama-ah said it was “extremely disappointed in the unfortunate statement released by the Miss SA organisation vowing to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant to be held in apartheid Israel this December.”

Al Jama-ah added that the politically charged statement released earlier this afternoon chose to disregard the fundamental human rights of the oppressed people of Palestine, and rather chose to support and endorse an apartheid state.

“We remind Miss SA that the country she claims to represent is a beneficiary of an international solidarity movement, during the struggle against apartheid,” said the political party.

“We remind Miss SA Organisation of its political history that had previously discriminated against contestants based on the colour of their skin.

“One would have hoped that the history of this country and the organisation will inform how it conducts its affairs today.

“Palestinian’s face similar forms of discrimination; arbitrary arrests, restrictions in movement; as well as restrictions on where they live and where they work.”

Al Jama-ah, which supports Muslim interests, said Palestinians to this day have to carry around documentation similar to the apartheid “dompas” – a passbook that black South Africans over the age of 16 had to carry all the time.

“As an organisation we unreservedly support the call made by Palestinians to respect and support their cultural boycott campaign, recognising the role that cultural institutions play in the efforts normalise the project of apartheid by Israel,” said Al Jama-ah.

“Cultural events further serve to whitewash Israel’s violation of human rights against the indigenous Palestinian people. And are part and parcel of the institutional support that allows for settler colonialism and apartheid.”

Al Jama-ah led by founder Ganief Hendricks – the party’s only MP, said it will be joining any upcoming demonstrations organised by Palestine solidarity activists “to send a clear message that we do not support or condone the decision by the Miss-SA organisers to send a representative to Israel”.

Miss Malaysia and Miss Indonesia have taken the decision to boycott the event.