PRESIDENT OF THE MUSLIM JUDICIAL COUNCIL –
SHAYKH IRFAAN ABRAHAMS ADDRESS AT GATHERING WITH PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA
Darul Islam High Campus, Cape Town, 21 July 2016
His Excellency President Jacob Zuma, Minister of Water Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane, Deputy Minister of Public Services Ayanda Dlodlo, the former Presidents of the MJC, Maulana Ihsaan Hendriks and Shaykh Ebrahiem Gabriel’s, the ANC Mayoral Candidate Cllr Xolani Sotashe, all protocol observed.
The MJC is indeed honoured and privileged to be hosting the President of South Africa.
The Muslim Judicial Council has a strong history and relationship with the ANC. Our first President and father of our nation Nelson Rohlihlahla Mandela in his speech in 1997 at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies said “South Africa’s vibrant Islamic heritage is a valued and respected part of our nation. It is contributing to the forging of a new South African identity.’
As the MJC we are proud of this history. As you will know Mr. President, Islam was a banned religion since it arrived on the shores of South Africa and for a period of about 150 years Islam was a forbidden religion. Together with our compatriots we actively fought for the dismantling of successive imperial, colonial and apartheid regimes.
As a Muslim community we acknowledge and reinforce the role of the ANC in the struggle for freedom. Today we are the beneficiaries of being able to not only practise our faith but also to have our culture and religion respected and protected by our Government and the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).
As a people who stand with the oppressed in other parts of the world, we appreciate the definitive position the ANC took when it invited the leader of Hamas, Comrade Khalid Mish’al as its official guest in October 2015.
Comrade Khalid went on record and said that the South African Government has been one of the greatest supporters and friends of the people of Palestine.
Of particular concern to us is the escalating conflict in Syria that has destroyed an entire nation and caused the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen. As freedom and peace loving people we would encourage our government through our International Forums to play a meaningful role in bringing to an end this devastating conflict.
Mr President, I would be failing in my duty if I do not highlight some of the burning issued we face as a nation:
The scourge of Gangsterism & drugs and the high crime levels is crippling our communities and suffocating our society. Tougher action, better resourced and equipped police services with a dedicated gang unit is needed.
Unemployment is at an all-time high. The Muslim community was well known for its artisan trade. We built most of these buildings you see in Cape Town. Sadly, this trade is dying. We request the Government to renew its efforts in promoting and incentivising the construction and other trades.
Stability and security of our country is the responsibility of each and every South African, we call on all our citizens to assist the Government in identifying any activities which are a threat to the security of our democracy and our shared values of freedom.
Mr President, as the president of the ANC, we call for a United and stable African National Congress (ANC). As the ruling party the country needs the ANC United and Stable and an ANC that recommits to the values of the Freedom Charter. An ANC free of factionalism that is fuelled by self-serving interests. It should also NOT be forgotten that there are those distractors who would like nothing else than to see the ANC disintegrate.
Racism and Xenophobia is another burning issue that threatens the fibre and stability of our democracy. As Muslims, we commit with our Government to be the forerunners in the eradication of this scourge and sickness.
The Muslim community has an active and fairly large community development and social cohesion programmes. In the past financial year, we estimate that as a collective the Muslim Community of South Africa through its local funding agencies and institutions contributed in excess of R2,5 billion towards social development initiatives to the people of South Africa.
Leading Muslim Relief Organizations like South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF), Gift of the Givers (GoG), Al Imdaad, Awqaf SA, Islamic Relief South Africa, (IRSA) Muslim Hands, Mustadafin, Darul Islam Relief Fund, (DIRF), as well as Financial Institutions including Al Baraka Bank, Oasis Assets Management, Element Investment Managers, Muslim Business across the country, including leading Religious and Theological Institutions under the leadership of the United Ulama Council of South Africa and more importantly ordinary South African Citizens and members of this community are shareholders and contributors to these generous initiatives.
On Friday, 12 March 2016 for example we delivered 50 000 (fifty thousand) litres of water and 1 200 food hampers to the community of Loeriesfontein, a town in the Northern Cape which is approximately 450km out of Cape Town. On the 8 July we repeated a visit to Loeriesfontein and delivered 1200 food hampers and more than 3000 litres of water. We place on record that there is not a single Muslim person in Loeriesfontein.
On Mandela day 67 Boreholes were built in association with Muslim organisations and the Department of Water and Sanitation, over 100 cataract removals over 2 days, 3 000 matriculants on a maths intervention programme and many, many more success stories of Muslims contributing to the growth and development of South Africa.
AS THE MJC WE COMMIT AND PLEDGE TO PARTNER WITH YOU AND THE GOVERNMENT IN DELIVERING THESE MUCH NEEDED INTERVENTIONS TO THE NEEDY COMMUNITIES OF THIS BEAUTIFUL NATION.
This weekend Mr President we will be a guest of the king of the Zulu nation, King Goodwill Zwelintini in your village of Nkandla where Islam as a religion will be recognise by the Zulu tribe. And as part of our collective Muslim contribution we will be supporting the community at Nkandla through development projects.
MR PRESIDENT WE CALL ON YOU to continue this great interaction and relationship with our Community by working with us to build a strong civil society that works in partnership with government to address our common challenges.
We would therefore like to see in the foreseeable future: The
establishment of an inter-ministerial task team to partner with us as we collectively address the Socio Economic challenges we face as a nation. In particular, local communal issues that affect the Muslim community such as the difficulty to obtain approval of places of worship in former white areas. Likewise, the Gentrification of Historical and Culturally rich areas such as the BoKaap.
The Merciful Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) said:
“The best of mankind is he who is most beneficial to mankind .”
We are a benevolent community and peace-loving community.
We are committed and loyal citizens of this beautiful country.
We are integral part of the beautiful landscape of this country.
Your Excellency, we pray for your continued well-being and wish you all the success for your future endeavours.
We wish our Rainbow Nation all the success in the upcoming municipal elections, and pray that God continues to shower this country with His Mercy, Blessings and Prosperity. Ameen.
We thank you.
Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams
Muslim Judicial Council (SA)