CAPE TOWN - A new proposal by a South African cable company to introduce porn channels has angered the Muslim minority, seeing it as a counterproductive step that would endanger family values.
"As an Islamic judicial body, the Muslim Judicial Council objects to TopTV's application and intention to introduce three 24-hour pornographic channels in South Africa," a statement by the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) was quoted by News 24 South Africa on Tuesday, April 9.
We further condemn TopTV for promoting destructive material in order to save itself from impending financial ruin.
The MJC statement followed a second attempt by the South African pay-TV TopTV service to launch three pornographic TV channels as a separate bouquet on its platform.
TopTV's first porn attempt was denied by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), South Africa's broadcasting regulator, a year ago.
TopTV's proposed porn plan has already drew criticism from groups such as Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), Doctors for Life and a national boycott of TopTV and its advertisers called by the Family Policy Institute (FPI).
Moreover, the leading Muslim body urged a national boycott for TopTV, which has about 400,000 subscribers.
"We thus fully support the call for a boycott made against TopTV, its advertising agents and sponsors," the MJC continued.
Boycott calls were also supported by different religious bodies in South Africa including; Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, Assemblies of God of South Africa, the Baptist Union of South Africa and the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference.
Supporters also included the Church of England in South Africa, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Full Gospel Church of South Africa, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, and the Association of Vineyard Churches in South Africa.
Deen TV, an Islamic TV channel on TopTV's bouquet, joined angry voices rejecting the porn channels.
"We have advised them that this is not where we want to be going. TopTV is an operation of its own that houses these channels and we have related to them that we do not support their decision to do so," Deen TV officials said.
The Muslim council warned that allowing these channels would endanger family values and threaten the well-being of the community.
"As a community, we have a responsibility to protect our mothers, fathers, daughters and sons from destructive material which could inadvertently lead to them being the victims of society's failure to maintain the dignity, respect and honour of central figures in society, our women," the MJC said in their statement.
"Women play a fundamental role in society; therefore the well-being of a woman is directly linked to the progress and cultivation of every member of that society.
"Pornography is counterproductive to values promoted in civilised democratic societies that promote the rights of child equality and preservation of the dignity of all members belonging to that society," the statement added.
Muslims make up some 1.5 percent of South Africa's 49 million-strong population, according to the CIA fact book.
Logging in and browsing pornographic sites is forbidden in Islam because a Muslim is always commanded to lower his/her gaze.
Wasting lives and times doing things which Allah forbade them to do, these acts cause psychological and social injury, Muslim scholars say.
A Muslim is always commanded to spend his time in useful things, cherish what benefits him in the present, plan for his coming days, and always make the reward of the Hereafter his/her top priority.