Just when I thought I heard it all, local criminals announce a cease fire in response to the holy month of Ramadan, Argus July 23. When I read this, I was intrigued. While most of us (Jews, Christians, and Muslims etc.) are petty sinners, in a constant state of remorse because of our short-comings, criminals spend their energy, actively involved with malevolent wickedness. By definition, criminals steal, rape, murder, sell and use drugs and engage in activities that generally terrorise ordinary people. Therefore criminals, who are planning to delay their program of terror because of Ramadan, are offensive.

Firstly, what happens after Ramadan does the shooting and drugs continue? Secondly, there is an incorrect assumption amongst some criminals who claim to be Muslim. They believe that should they minimize their evil activities during Ramadan; all their past misdeeds are miraculously forgiven. They fail to understand that a Muslim cannot sell drugs and alcohol, rape and murder. It is illegal, either you practice Islam and commit regrettable minor indiscretions like the rest of us; alternatively they are not part of the Muslim community.

A rudimentary understanding of Islamic jurisprudence indicates that, when a criminal who claims to be a Muslim dies while unrepentant for his crimes, he is considered a Fasiq (obstinate rebellious sinner) and is destined for damnation. Although God is most merciful, the Islamic process of repentance has a very specific protocol. Amongst other conditions, a criminal must seek the forgiveness directly from his victims or the surviving family for major crimes (murder, rape, drugs etc.) He must also repay the affected family for the resultant damage. Repentance and repayment is not negotiable. After this, the criminal should consult a Sheikh to learn the remaining lessons to absolve his other sins. Bottom line, you have to pay what you owe.

At the same time, Ramadan is historically regarded as the most appropriate time for the initiation of the repentance process. Consequently those criminals who claim to be Muslim have an opportunity to permanently reject a life of crime. Also, if a person can refrain from shooting and drugging for 30 days, the behaviour change can be maintained.

Furthermore, to those who permanently blame Apartheid for all their problems, I want to clarify that this excuse is indefensible when compared with the suffering and poverty of other communities in the rest of Africa and in places like Indonesia and Yemen etc. Unlike Capetonians, those communities did not resort to the massive use of drugs and shooting the children in their own community.

Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress