Lotus FM jock Pauline Rosanna Sangham has broken her silence about the wave of criticism over her allegedly Islamophobic comments.
The Durban mother of two told POST on Tuesday she had to go into hiding last week after people claimed she referred to Islam as “a false religion”.
“I have been framed by people. They maliciously saw a response I made on a public forum (blog) used for healthy debates and took it out of context,” she said.
“I am the sheep that’s going to the slaughter.”
Added Sangham: “I don’t hate anyone, I have studied the Qur’an, I am not ignorant. The constitution gives us the right to free speech, not hate speech. I would never play around with comments like that.
“This has affected my livelihood, my whole family and I am in constant fear of my life. Am I supposed to die of poverty because I had gone into a debate in a forum that allows it?
“I would never ever do something that would upset another religion or community.”
Sangham said she had read David Wood’s Answering Islam blog, which invited people to comment “and start positive debate”.
“Now if someone responds to say my religion (Christianity) is false and the Bible is corrupted, how would I react?
“And what’s even worse is people who know me, saw those comments and scrutinised them, they conspired and did an intense search of my whole life and my comments on a blog – which is a forum to express your views – and took shots of those comments only and posted them,” she said.
While she initially claimed her Facebook account was hacked, she now said she had meant that people were taking her comments from elsewhere and posting them on her page.
The South African Muslim Network (Samnet) said it had found more Islamophobic content on Sangham’s social media sites.
An item dated May 14, 2016, posted in the group Answering Islam – Jesus is God, purportedly has her saying: “Islam is not strictly speaking a religion. No doubt it has these elements of a relationship with God but its a destructive force of fear…”
Another, on January 2 this year in the same group, reads: “It’s so ironic how Muslims are looked at as a marginalised and oppressed group of people when they themselves fool themselves.
“Say what you want about Christianity and Christians but Islam is off limits. Political correctness tells us what to think. Muslims are smart people with clever tricks.”
Said Samnet chairperson Faisal Suliman: “Pauline said she was hacked recently but things have been posted (from her page) going back more than two years.
“She has made serious posts regarding Muslims, Arabs and even Palestinians. It does not promote social cohesion.”
Suliman said they had reported the matter to the SABC, Lotus FM, the Hate Crimes Working Group, Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and the SA Human Rights Commission.
“Our attorneys are formulating criminal and civil charges against Ms Sangham. We appeal to Muslims to not react to her in any way that denigrates our religion but to let the law take its course.
“What Ms Sangham’s posts and those who she has been interacting with shows is growing Islamophobia and this is more reason for us to strengthen our advocacy capabilities as well to portray our religion in a way befitting the example set by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). People should not react to her hate with more hate.”
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed Sangham had been off air for the past two weeks as the public broadcaster, which owns Lotus FM, investigates the “very serious” matter. He said they were still determining “how badly the company’s image has been damaged by the post”.
Sangham’s mother, who declined to be named, told POST: “People are calling and swearing her and making all these threats and fatwas. It disturbs us all. Pauline would never say ill things to provoke a certain religion or upset anyone.”