By Abdul Malik Mujahid, Founder, Justice for All
(Published in Muslim Journal, Vol 47, Issue 16, December 31, 2021)
CHICAGO, Ill. – Muslim South Africans were a part of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, but there are other reasons why Muslims are thankful to Archbishop Tutu as well.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the only world leader who spoke about the genocide of Muslims in the Central African Republic. In 2015, it was the Christian terrorist group Lord’s Army who played a critical role in the genocide.
When I spoke to the main Imam in the capital city, he told me only two masajid are still standing out of 432. The Imam blamed the French army. No Muslim leader in the world spoke about it. Thank you, Tutu for speaking the truth.
Archbishop Tutu was also the first world leader to use the term “genocide” to define what Rohingyas in Burma faced. That allowed me to recruit six other Nobel Peace Laureates to sign the following statement. Thank you, Tutu:
“What Rohingyas are facing is a textbook case of genocide in which an entire indigenous community is being systematically wiped out by the Burmese government.”
It was years before the rest of the world started considering it a genocide.
The Archbishop was also the leader who consistently called what Palestinians face as “apartheid” and endorsed the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement to pressure end of oppression against that population. He considered Palestine as God’s own cause.
In Soweto, South Africa, there is perhaps only one street in the world where two Nobel Peace Laureates lived: Nelson Mandela (1993) and Archbishop Tutu (in 1984) both lived there. Their neighbor is called Lerato.
Both, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu stay in the hearts of Muslims. As the apartheid system fell in 1994, Archbishop Tutu led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He sought to provide “restorative justice.”
This meant compensation to survivors and amnesty to perpetrators who cooperated with the inquiry. The Archbishop became the voice of the oppressed.
Archbishop Tutu opposed the invasion of Iraq. He called for former U.S. President George W. Bush and former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court over their invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Stephen Moreo, Bishop of Johannesburg related, “His legacy will be his love for all people. I don’t know whether you have come across his writings. He has always said that God is not God of Christians, God is God of all people. So his main legacy is his love for all God’s people.”
The Archbishop chose the cheapest available coffin, as he opposed lavish spending. He cared for All. Thank you, Bishop Tutu.
For programming in tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and more Justice for All broadcasts, visit https://www.muslimnetwork.tv/tv-programs/justice-for-all-now/
(Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is the founder of Justice For All, Sound Vision Foundation, and Muslim News Network. He was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world eight times in a row. He is Chair Emeritus of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.)