Recently published articles have annoyed members of the pavement cabal. The pavement cabal can best be described as those individuals who gather outside any mosque on a Friday after the formal prayer to deliberate issues relating to the well-being of the community. As it is an informal gathering and because members are usually enthralled by conspiracy theories, this is the space to hear the latest narratives as it ambles through the community.

Recently, a cabal regular queried why an Argus reporter interviewed a man representing the Bo-kaap ratepayers association while the man was wearing a pyjama vest. The photo which was on the front page instigated fresh theories. The report included a story of a woman with 17 children paying only R200 a month municipal rent. According to some cabal comments, the narrative made Bo-kaap residents seem low class, comparable to hill-billies that operate in the southern United States.

Since most cabal members are well read, in self-defence, one critic quoted Eleanor Roosevelt who said that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

The recent story of an unmarried Muslim girl who gave birth and proceeded to write her matric exam was lauded as an epic act of courage. The next day, the Argus was filled with some who praised her while others savaged her morality. The pavement cabal were distressed on two levels.

Firstly, when Muslims error, cultural and religious norms strongly advocates that you shield your indignity and display remorse as quick as possible. Indiscretion reported for posterity reflects poorly on the person’s mentality and confirms witlessness on the part of the parents. Secondly, cabal critics fixated on the fact that the family interviewed were living in municipal housing. By default they were a financial liability to other ratepayers. Also the young mother and baby now required access to extra subsidised water, electricity and most likely a grant of some sort for many years.

Some time ago the Argus also emphasised the plight of a woman that was cheated by some faith healer. She was photo’d in hijab in an empty space indicative of the fact that she was robbed by charlatans whom she consulted. According to cabal critics, the report displayed the woman’s gross ignorance since Muslim scholars have condemned faith healers as charlatans for centuries.

That Junade Hoosain a Muslim DA Councillor was crucified in the media for stating that “Darkies belong in the Eastern Cape” was undoubtedly a serious subject for the pavement cabal. With the ruthless bombings in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, local Muslims have a tough time reflecting the tangible non-racial and peaceful beauty of Islam. Accusations of racism are a superfluous burden.

Since the last gathering was rather depressing, to conclude the dialogue on a positive note, a cabal elder sought refuge with a quote from George Bernard Shaw. Shaw said “a life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

I rest my case.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress

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