Faizel Patel, Radio Islam - 10-12-2019
The Islamic Theology on Counter Terrorism (ITCT) says there is no evidence that a right-wing terrorist cell is a well-organized group to carry out any attacks in the country.
Earlier this month the Hawks announced the arrest of leader Harry Johannes Knoesen and other key members of a group calling itself the National Christian Resistance Movement, or so-called "Crusaders".
The Hawks allege that the group were plotting to attack key points in the country including, shopping malls and informal settlements on Black Friday.
The arrests followed a two-year intelligence-led investigation into a terrorist plot allegedly coordinated by the group.
But is this really a terror group?
Expert and associate, Counter Terrorism Africa at the Islamic Theology on Counter Terrorism, Jasmine Opperman says it does not appear so.
“Was he the typical, what it being used across terrorism groups a ‘lone wolf’ per se? If he was indeed, he would’ve executed a long time ago. I am still to be convinced that there is actually a well-organised Christian extremist group according to Knoesen that he has created.”
Citing a number of examples including the Boeremag, the Thulsie twins and the Verulam attack among others, Opperman says the Hawks track record on terrorism is not good.
“My advice to the Hawks is to quickly catchup on this, because we are one step behind and what are doing with these types of arrests is, we are feeding and giving oxygen to their propaganda messages. I am not saying they should not have been arrested. We are living in an age of extremism, we cannot afford this in South Africa at this point in time, but make sure you have the evidence to prove intent."
Opperman says the "Crusaders" have not featured in any of the social media platforms she scrutinized, except for one post on Telegram, which indicated, “there are white souls willing to take action.”
Listen to the interview with Jasmine Opperman