//South African Pastor suspended for criticizing Hindu rituals

South African Pastor suspended for criticizing Hindu rituals

Pastor suspended
February 21, 2006, By Yogas Nair

Following his blasphemous and derogatory remarks about Hinduism on Lotus fm’s Gospel Hour, two weeks ago, Chatsworth Pastor Bobby Moodley, pictured, has been left out in the cold after he was suspended by the Durban Christian Centre (DCC).

Moodley, 50, who heads the Croftdene branch of DCC, caused an outcry in the Hindu community after he refused to apologise for the comments, saying it was "my personal testimony".

He criticised Hindu rituals and idol worship and claimed because of these "ridiculous rituals" he was "taught" from an early age to drink and take drugs.

In a media statement to POST, Joy Torrens, of DCC said: "It has come to the Durban Christian Centre’s attention that the broadcast of its Healing Word programme on Lotus fm, on February 12, may have regrettably caused offence to the Hindu community."

She said while it was never their intention to offend the Hindu community or blaspheme the religion, they apologised to the Hindu community for any offence which have been caused by the programme.

"We would like to place on record that the views and opinions expressed by Pastor Bobby Moodley in his subsequent statements to the media are his own and not those of the church."

She added Moodley had been suspended, "pending an inquiry into his conduct".

"We are a multi-cultural church, which remains committed to being a house of prayer for all nations."

Pastor Moodley confirmed he had been suspended, but declined to comment further.

Lotus fm station manager Shanil Singh said the DCC had assured them an internal inquiry was under way and appropriate action would be taken against those responsible for producing the content.

Singh said: "We are satisfied with this approach. The suspension of Pastor Moodley sends a strong message to individuals who are intent on using their personal, narrow interpretation of religious practices in order to attack other religions."

Religious leaders in the province have reacted positively to the "stand taken" by DCC.

Chairman of the Devasthanam Foundation of South Africa Kylasam Moodley said they regarded Pastor Moodley’s comments in very "poor taste".

Moodley said: "However, the DCC has shown repentance and we accept their apology unconditionally."

President of the KwaZulu Natal Tamil Federation Bala Naidoo said they were "pleased the Durban Christian Centre had taken action against Pastor Moodley" and accepted their apology in "good faith".

He said they had met Lotus fm management and "expressed serious concerns about correct procedures not being followed".

Naidoo said the station had taken responsibility for their actions and an apology had been extended to them for the airing of the derogatory remarks.

President of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha Ashwin Trikamjee said he was "pleased" the matter had been resolved. "This reinforces my belief that inter-religious tolerance and co-operation is essen

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