More than a decade ago, three officials working at the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) joined the Democratic Alliance (DA).Since MJC members were historically African National Congress (ANC) aligned, a covert community wide program of ostracism was set into motion.

A week before the officials were summoned to attend a MJC hearing, one official, due to excessive pressure resigned from politics and did not attend. A second official simply did not pitch up, leaving me, to answer the barrage. Since Tony Leon was at the helm of the DA, his Jewishness and Israeli links was used to portray anyone aligned to the DA as a likely Zionist sympathizer, a cardinal sin for any Muslim. While politics is inherently dirty, I was stunned at the malice of certain religious leaders.

Since the work situation was made intolerable I sought employ elsewhere. During the 2000 election campaign the personal insults continued as Muslims generally believed that the DA was dependant on Jewish money. During that painful period, I found some respite in conversation with Helen Zille an unknown political figure at that time and former Cllr Patrick Hill.

Today, when I observe the same religious and business leaders who degraded my historic politics, fawning and falling over their feet to share a platform with Premier Zille I am not surprised. Experience has taught me that that integrity is malleable. While I hold no umbrage and believe in the freedom of association and expression, the behaviour of some leaders, does leave a bitter taste.

Since Helen Zille became Premier, I consider, do those Muslim leaders who host her, honour Zille or the Premiership that she occupies. For example, have those who so eagerly embraced her at the mass Mawlid last year and this year, forgotten what they said about her and her party not so long ago? Is it too much to ask, that they at least be less sycophantic when sharing a platform?

Without being obsequious, I have learnt that one does not need permission to admire capable individuals who have a different religion, ethnicity or political thought. Though I have moved on politically, I continue to appreciate the energy of Premier Zille and that of former Premier Rasool. On the other hand, those Muslim religious and business leaders who praised Rasool when he was Premier have forgotten his contribution and have moved on to grovelling elsewhere.

Though it is plausible that the Mayor and Premier be invited to the event, why was Marius Fransman of the ANC invited? If it was to create political balance, then why was the Muslim parties represented in the City of Cape Town not invited?

From the media reports on Monday 20th of January it appears as if the mass Mawlid was part of a specific election campaign as only two political leaders are photographed and quoted. Deliberately or not the organisers have politicized the mass Mawlid on two instances by consciously and ironically inviting the DA and ANC but ignoring the Muslim parties.

In the words of George Washington “In politics as in religion, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests are more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

 

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress