Church building for 'Muslims only'
A religious war is looming in the Durban city centre after a Muslim man allegedly locked Christians out of their church and dismissed their religion as "nonsense".
Pastor Thulani Cele of the Sakha Umuntu Church is angry after he and members of his congregation were allegedly locked out of their church by a "Muslim" man who also "dismissed Christianity as nonsense".
The man allegedly also accused Cele of "degrading the value of a Muslim building".
Cele said their troubles started three weeks ago when members of his church found their rented building in Smith Street locked. He said they had been renting the premises for the past year.
Cele said he received a call from members of his church telling him that they had been locked out of their church.
"I hurriedly drove to the building where I found the Muslim man known as "AK". He had locked our members out of the building," he said.
"When I asked why he had locked us out, he said he did not want us there anymore.
"He said we were decreasing the value of their building which was for Muslims only.
"I was shocked because we have been renting the building for a very long time. No one has told us to move out.
"We pay R8000 rent a month. We have never been in arrears. So it came as a shock when we were told that we could no longer praise God in that building.
"We called the police and they tried to help us reach an agreement with the man. When he finally agreed to open the door, he told us not to make a noise and not to sing," said Cele.
However, last week when members went back, they found the locks changed and a roll-up gate operated by remote control erected in front of the gate.
"The landlord to whom we have been paying rent did not have the remote control. So we were stranded again. The landlord was just as shocked as us. This is very painful," he said.
"We will not back down. Our religious rights have been violated. Such violation shows a deep contempt for black people."
When Sowetan contacted "AK" for comment, a person who answered the phone denied that he was "AK".
He said he knew "AK" but was "not at liberty to divulge his contact details".
He quickly changed his mind and said he was "not going to comment" before slamming the phone down.