The Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRLF), together with the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI), met with members of the LGBTI community in Manenberg, Cape Town yesterday and apologised for having neglected their needs.

The WCRLF describes itself as the mouthpiece of the faith sector in the Western Cape and lobbies on behalf of the faith sector as well as “providing a moral compass” in society.

The meeting aimed to address the spate of corrective rapes and violence against gays and lesbians in the region and included religious leaders such as WCRLF Chairperson Father John Oliver and Cape Town Imam Dr. Rashid Omar.

“We felt it was important to do a Walk of Witness on this particular issue,” Father Oliver told Mambaonline. “We met with some of the family members of those who suffered from corrective rape and assault and parents who had lost their girls for being lesbian.”

In addition to engaging with the families, the WCRLF also had a public meeting and heard from those working in the field about their experiences.

“We said that we are here and we apologise for neglecting our responsibility when interpreting our scriptures in terms of how we approach people who are different from ourselves,” said Father Oliver.

He added that he supported better “teaching and education around these issues” among religious communities and their leadership.

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