As a member of the Muslim Judicial Council for more than two decades, the narrative in the article “New advisory panel will see MJC embrace change” Cape Times November 12 was expected.

However, a concern is that the individuals identified who will lead the panel have historic ties to the African National Congress (ANC). Consequently, why this panel which has been discussed for years is put together a year ahead of a municipal election, is worrying. Since the idea is not to cast aspersions it would have been more responsible to have selected people with a tangible history of community activism and limited political loyalties.

The MJC which has its governance roots within centuries of traditional Islam, by its nature is limited to a world view that is not dependant on popular opinion. For example, by virtue of its constitution the MJC cannot be politically aligned. Years ago I drafted a constitutional amendment which stated that no official including senior or executive members may hold political office or make political statements on behalf of the MJC. The objective was to ensure that the MJC remains a politically neutral terrain and that the MJC cannot be commandeered by major political party, especially the DA and ANC.

Experience suggests that religious leaders who usually align with the DA or ANC do so for self-enrichment and not to serve the community interests. Religious reps usually represent the interest of their political party to the community instead of the community interest to the political party.

As a judiciary with welfare and educational outreach, the MJC has a sufficient workload and should not allow the organization to be tarnished by being drawn into party political affiliations.

The current leadership needs to discern that the MJC existed long before they assumed control and will continue to exist long after they are gone. While change can be enlightened, change for the sake of historic criticism needs to be examined within its context. Progress is not established or merely measured by the trends of the age but rather by the austerity of truth and confirmed by history.

In the words of the wise, change, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we often leave behind is in reality a part of who and what we are.

 

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress