A police Minister in South Africa Bheki Cele has rendered an apology to Muslims in the country over a “blasphemous” remark made by a policeman to praying Muslims as he was enforcing lockdown rules.
The apology came after the event was caught on video.
The content of the video shows a police entering a room where about 20 Muslims were praying, and ordering them to the ground.
One of the police is heard saying: “Are you bigger than the president? Is Muhammad bigger than the president?”
Cele said he “issued an apology to the Muslim community for the blasphemous remarks during the arrest” and an “urgent investigation” was launched “to establish the identity of the person behind such sacrilege” in the incident which took place in the Mpumalanga province.
In a separate statement, the police said the policeman’s comment was “rather unfortunate and it is unacceptable that someone could make such an utterance”.
The statement said that people of all religions had to respect rules during the confinement.
The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa Council of Muslim Theologians reacted that not only were the remarks “demeaning in the name of the Prophet Muhammad”, but police entering a prayer room with “their heavy boots”, as seen in the video, was “distressing to Muslims who consider prayer places as sacred”.