Historical context required

The battle regarding the Athaan (call to prayer) is interesting as it reflects the opinions that circulate in the minds of some people. It is therefore vital to take a step back and reflect on historical context.

Decades ago, after graduating from university I worked as a community development worker at the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC).  Since surrounded by scholars and community leaders etc. twenty to forty years older, I had the unique opportunity to ask questions and learn in a practicing milieu.

My questions were often answered by the actual people directly involved in the historic process.

Example, decades ago, I asked the late Imam Yaseen Harris of Woodstock Mosque why Muslims did not fight when Apartheids enforcers arrived to forcefully remove people from District 6, Claremont, Constantia etc. His answer was simple. Apartheid officials threatened to demolish the mosques in District 6, Claremont, Constantia, Goodwood and elsewhere if Muslims physically fought back.

The material and architectural history of Cape town’s 350-year-old Muslim community would have been reduced by bulldozers in the same way that the Zionists removes the foundations stones of shattered Palestinian villages to ensure that the material evidence is eliminated from history itself.

Muslim leaders like Imam Yaseen Harris understood the cruelty of Apartheid’s enforcers. So our leaders and our people left quietly so that our religious sites remained as a testimony to our history. Muslims like the rest of the Christian colored people were proud and dignified people. Our Churches and Mosques in District 6 and elsewhere will eternally symbolize our love for the God of Abraham. When the Church bells ring and Athaan is called especially in District 6, it is a message to the world that the Muslim and Christian mix-race folks who lived in that ruined earth, will not be forgotten.

While useless politicians blame each other for their inability to return the rightful inhabitants of District 6 back to restituted homes, the Churches and Mosques echo the pain of forced removal.

Already both leading political parties have lost substantial votes in this latest election in Cape Town. Already 35% of registered voters did not vote and many more who can register to vote, do not register. The eligible non-voters could represent 50% and smaller parties are rising in Cape Town.

The warning shots have been fired. Play with the Athaan and see what happens come 2021.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress