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Vol. 31 No. 1


Three Western Cape mosques targets of suspected hate crimes MAHMOOD SANGLAY

N January 1, 7 and 9 the mosques in Langebaan, Simon’s Town and Kalk Bay, in the Western Cape, were, respectively, the targets of hate crimes. In Langebaan, Liam Christian Ferreira posted Islamophobic comments on Facebook relating to the adhaan (Muslim call to prayer). He called for the mosque to be burnt down. His comments elicited strong censure on Facebook but also an equally Islamophobic response. One John Roodt agreed with Ferreira and called Muslims ‘aliens’ amongst other derogatory terms. This was followed by acts of desecration at the mosque in Simon’s Town, where a pig’s snout and blood were used to defile its premises. In Kalk Bay, the walls of the mosque were sprayed with blood and there was some malicious damage to property. William Lewis, 44, a life-long resident of Seaview Park, Langebaan, lives two doors away from the mosque. According to him, the community of Seaview Park unanimously condemns Ferreira’s comments. He adds that it is likely that Ferreira is a white resident who settled in Leentjiesklip, Langebaan, in recent years. Leentjiesklip is 1,3 kilometres from Seaview Park, and Lewis believes that Ferreira is not likely to have heard any call to prayer from the mosque. He is of the view that Ferreira should be called to account for his comments. He says Muslims and Christians in the area have always enjoyed good relations. Shawaal Nakidien, chairman of the Langebaan mosque committee, confirms this. He adds that, some time back, there had been a complaint about the early morning call to prayer disturbing the peace in the area around the mosque. This concern of the residents was quickly addressed and, since then, the morning call to prayer is not amplified.


Although the Muslims in Seaview Park are a minority, there are about 35 Muslim families in the area. The Muslim presence in Langebaan dates to the mid-1970s and the mosque was built just over two years ago. Masjid Nurul Islam, in Simon’s Town, was built in 1911 and accommodates 200 worshippers for Jumuah. Although only one Muslim family lives in the immediate vicinity of the mosque, about three rows are filled for prayers during the week by Muslims who work in the area. Masjid Al Jamia, in Kalk Bay, was founded in 1898 and currently serves 25 Muslim families in the area, of which three live in the immediate vicinity of the mosque. About 350 people attend Jumuah, and three rows are filled by residents in the week. Both Imam Abdul Gakiem Raban, who leads the congregation in Simon’s Town, and Sharief Ariefdien, chairperson of Masjid Al Jamia, in Kalk Bay, say there is no amplified adhaan at their mosques. Although congestion due to parking on Fridays does occur, problems in this respect are isolated. Local residents appear to have become accustomed to a predictable and manageable phenomenon. They are all also of the view that there is no history of racial, class or religious tensions in the area. The incidents came as a shock in the two communities that have been living in interfaith respect and harmony for decades. These views are echoed by the Reverend Bob Commin, of the Parish Council of St Francis Anglican Church, in Simon’s Town, as well as Bishop Geoff Davies, of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, in Kalk Bay. The latter is next to the Kalk Bay mosque. Both Christian leaders condemn the acts of desecration and express support for the Muslim community.

The two church leaders say that the tradition of interfaith solidarity between Muslims and Christians predates the advent of democracy in 1994 when white and black people were separated by apartheid laws. They say Muslims have attended Anglican and Catholic schools and sang in church choirs for decades. Bishop Davies adds that the white people in Kalk Bay supported the resistance against the forced removal of the local fishing community. He also relates how, at a public meeting, a white resident was seething with anger towards those who had desecrated the mosques. However, when she observed the dignity and calm of the Muslim leaders in their responses, her anger dissipated. The bishop says that some members of his congregation expressed the view that Islam should not be defined by what is currently happening in the Middle East but rather by the conduct of the local Muslims in the face of such desecration. The Muslim and Christian leaders and community members in Simon’s Town and Kalk Bay are also unanimous that the offenders are from outside the local community. They are certain that no one from within their midst harbours any anti-Muslim sentiments to drive such behaviour. The desecration betrays an intolerance, ignorance and prejudice, they say, that is alien to their respective communities. The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) was alerted about all three incidents and, with their support, formal complaints were filed with the police and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The Muslim leadership in all three instances was particularly careful to take prudent action reflecting a sober and rational approach as opposed to an emotionally charged and impulsive one. They grasped what Bishop Davies calls an opportunity for a ‘wonderful affirmation’ of inter-

The Reverend Bob Commin, of the Parish Council of St Francis Anglican Church, right, and Imam Abdul Gakiem Raban joined hands in condemning the violation of the sanctity of Masjid Nurul Islam, in Simon’s Town. Photo SALAAM CADER

faith solidarity. Muslim Views succeeded in contacting both Ferreira and Roodt. The latter was unresponsive to our request for an inter-



view and Ferreira was uncooperative in answering our questions. The tone of his responses was inconsistent with that of a repentant offender.


Muslim Views

Muslim Views . January 2017

Muslim Views . January 2017

The desecration also calls for introspection

THE Islamophobic comments and acts of desecration at three Western Cape mosques this month were publicly condemned by many who were offended by these hate crimes. This included people of other faiths and political and church leaders. The objections were presumably based on a commitment to values such as freedom of religion, interfaith solidarity and limitations to the right to freedom of expression. The response from the Muslim leadership and the Muslim community has been rational, as opposed to impulsive and emotional. The sober but firm manner in which this was managed was exemplary and, in many ways, unprecedented. It was important that Muslims appear neither weak and acquiescent, nor unreasonable or vengeful. The middle road presented an opportunity to engage the other in ways that exemplified the Prophetic standard at times like these. To a large extent this was accomplished. While this may be an encouraging development, it is also an opportunity for Muslims to reflect on questions that have become marginal and obscured in the overwhelming focus on desecration and Islamophobia in which we have been cast as the victims. We need to guard against self-righteousness and a smug morality that precludes any consideration of our responsibilities and possible culpability in this episode. A number of such considerations may be raised in this respect.

The first is that the constitutional values and provisions on which Muslims rely for protection in this instance is for the benefit of all religious communities in South Africa. Muslims need to ask themselves if they truly embrace the universality of this provision and if they, in principle, would support any other faith group whose religious sensibilities are offended by similar comments or acts of desecration. The amplification of the adhaan in public, which is evidently the reason for the origin of this controversy, is not obligatory according to local Muslim scholars. The use of an unamplified human voice is sufficient in fulfilment of this sunnah practice. However, where amplification is permitted, it should be used with due consideration to legal limits, as well as the sensibilities of the people of other faiths who may find it a disturbance, especially in the early hours of the morning. There is no reason for any Muslim community in South Africa to experience conflict in respect of the amplification of the adhaan in public. Where there is no objection, Muslims are fortunate to live in a community where people of other faiths are tolerant and indulgent. Where there is room for negotiation, Muslims have the option to settle for benefits over and above the sunnah practice. Where there is no room for negotiation, Muslims may be contented that they need not be in breach of the sunnah practice. Parking and traffic congestion at the time of the Jumuah prayer is another phenomenon associated with contemporary Muslim religious practice. To some extent, the increase in traffic and congestion around mosques during the sacred hour is unavoidable. The reasonable extent to which this impacts on others is acceptable. What is unacceptable is the lack of consideration and ethics for the rights of others in the case of unlawful parking or parking that obstructs traffic. Neither residents nor traffic law enforcement officials need tolerate this from an ill-disciplined handful of Muslims. It makes no sense to hasten to the worship of God while infringing on the rights of fellow humans.

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Back to school, forward to the future SHAIKH SA’DULLAH KHAN

PROPHET Muhammad (SAW) said, ‘I have been sent as a teacher,’ and ‘I have been commissioned to advance the pattern of human behaviour.’ These traditions emphasise the prophetic task of teaching and virtuous training as well as the significance of education, ethical values and moral conduct. As our students return to the schools and colleges after celebrating some excellent results, we ponder on the higher purpose of education.

war are ever alive in news headlines and films, continuing to confound the cultural and religious identity and well-being of billions of people worldwide. How do we ensure that our learners become upright global citizens; are spared the vicious cycle of human greed, selfish self-interest, religious bigotry, political machinations and brutal lust for power?

Preparing youth for the challenges of the future

The present is a world of cyberspace, outer space, genome maps, globalisation, smart Effective education cards, smart bombs, supersonic Effective education function- jets, nuclear power, stem cells ally informs and positively and cellphones. There is no denying it; we live transforms the learner, initiating a catalytic reaction, leading to in a new age where the science continuous development of the fiction of the 1970s has become scientific fact in l e a r n e r ’ s 2017. t h o u g h t s , We have the We have to actions, potenrealise that the tialities, skills, youth live in the faculties, expresresponsibility same world but sions, motivation with different and aspirations. of nurturing and challenges, thus, Education in in the words of Islam is not Sayyidina Ali, merely the organcaring for them. ‘Train your young ised transfer of with a trainknowledge. It is The Prophet (SAW) ones ing different from factual informayour training for tion for positive said: ‘Honour your they have been transformation; created for a periit is promoting od different from the deeply cherchildren and train yours.’ ished values of It behoves us to sincerity, honesty, them well.’ facilitate the integrity, sense of development of responsibility empowered and and concern for motivated youth; positive young the rights and welfare of others. Such holistic education could men and women, hopeful and be understood as the art of culti- healthy, balanced individuals vating the intellectual, moral, exhibiting meaningful living and emotional, physical, psychologi- informed by higher moral valcal, empathic and spiritual ues. We need to develop youth dimensions of the learner. whose behaviour demonstrates Struggle betrayed qualities of compassion, rightand priorities muddled eousness, honesty, humility and A generation after democracy excellence. We should realise in South Africa, the current fail- that talking about youth is not ure to provide quality education so much talking about an age and health services to the major- group, as much as it is talking ity of our people denies many about our collective future. citizens of our beautiful land the It is essential for parents and opportunity to advance to their teachers to remember that we full potential. are not inheriting the earth so It prevents many their right- much from our parents as much ful opportunity of honing their as we are borrowing it from our talents and skills to enhance effi- children. We are not responsible ciency, generate sufficiency and as much for what we have inherensure a better life for all; a fail- ited but we are more accounture that is an affront to our col- able for the legacy we leave lective dignity and a betrayal to behind. the memory of our noble strugWe have the responsibility of gle. nurturing and caring for them. Globally, the governmental The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Honbudgets for war are far more our your children and train than for human development; them well.’ more money is being spent on We have the honourable killing humankind than saving responsibility of preparing humanity. The USA alone spent youth for life, to empower them $737 billion on funding war and through today for tomorrow. supplying arms in 2012 yet, just This requires teachers teaching three weeks of that budget could with purpose and learners being have addressed world starva- trained for living with dignity. tion. Shaikh Sa’dullah Khan is the The racism, greed and reli- CEO of Islamia College, in gious hatred that fan the fires of Cape Town.

This newspaper carries Allah’s names, the names of the Prophets and sacred verses of the Holy Qur’an. Please treat it with the respect it deserves. Either keep, circulate or recycle. Please do not discard. Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

Award winning Palestinian filmmaker in SA MAHMOOD SANGLAY

‘FOR me, the camera was my friend, always my weapon.’ It is documentary filmmaker Emad Burnat’s basic tool he used to produce 5 Broken Cameras. The documentary is his account of life through the eyes of his son, Gibreel, and the demonstrations against the building of the apartheid wall in his hometown, Bil’in, a West Bank village adjacent to Israeli settlements. The documentary has won more than 40 awards, and was a nominee at the 85th Academy Awards in the Best Documentary Feature category. The awards include International Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) awards, won at its premiere, in 2011. In 2013, the film won the Best Documentary at the International Emmy Awards. Burnat spoke to Muslim Views on November 30, 2016, at a guesthouse in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, the first of twelve destinations in five provinces. While he admitted to being charmed by the picturesque setting and the beauty of Cape Town, he immediately refocused on his mission, which was to screen his film and share his story with South Africans. The key distinction of Burnat’s work is that it reflects the experience of the occupation from within. Critics point out its one-sided bias, however, the film never pretends to offer a balanced or objective rendition of the PalestinianIsraeli narrative. It was the honesty of this unique perspective, together with the authenticity with which it projects the Palestinian experi-

Muslim Views

Emad Burnat, is pictured at a guest house in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, on November 30, 2016. He values his independence as a filmmaker, particularly from party-political influence or pressure, in conveying the experience of ordinary Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Photo MAHMOOD SANGLAY

ence that persuaded judges and moved audiences across the world. Of course, Burnat risked his life in the process of filming his story for six years, from 2005 till 2010. He says that out of about 700 hours of footage, five hours may have been lost to confiscation by Israeli authorities. This includes footage that may have been destroyed during attacks by Israeli soldiers and settlers. In 2006, he was arrested and detained for several weeks, and his cameras were broken. The deeply personal aspect of Burnat’s narrative is reflected in the film. His wife, Soraya, frequently raised alarm at the risk and peril to which he exposed his family in doing his work. However, this was much earlier in his filming career. Now that Burnat’s work has achieved success and recognition, she is more supportive. When asked if his family found the filming of the documentary in their own home somewhat intrusive, he answered in the negative. On the contrary, he regards it as part of his mission to convey the reality and impact of Israeli occupation for the world to see. When Burnat commenced filming in 2005, he had no idea that his footage was destined to become a documentary film. His motivation then was to use filming as a safe way to participate in

public protests and offer his footage as evidence in defence of Palestinians prosecuted in Israeli courts. Foreign news agencies also used his footage because he gained almost exclusive access to sites and events such as Israeli military raids. Guy Davidi, of the Indymedia Group, and the co-director of the film, offered his support to Burnat, together with other peace activists.

In 2006 Burnat was arrested, allegedly for stone throwing. The activists and donors provided Burnat with new cameras to continue filming after his release from detention and house arrest. There was no evidence to support the charges. Davidi, who was working on an independent project during that period, was filming Palestinian villagers under occupation, at times alongside Burnat. The latter approached Davidi in 2009 and

proposed that they focus on his personal narrative from within the Palestinian community. Davidi recognised the merit of this proposal and joined Burnat as director of the documentary. Burnat’s peculiar view of the success or failure of the Palestinian position in the media war is of particular interest. He recognises the nuances of the various Palestinian voices, including those of Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority but says they are compromised by party-political and other interests. He finds greatest legitimacy in independent activism free of party-political interests. The media, says Burnat, is also compromised when they accept or reflect official versions of politicians to the exclusion of the voices of ordinary people. He says even Al Jazeera reflects official versions of the Palestinian narrative, and not the popular voices. His vision for peace in Palestine is the right to live with his family in a just society that includes Jews. Of course, he recognises this is possible only with an end to the occupation, complete freedom of movement and recognition of the right of return of refugees. Due to ill health while on tour in South Africa, Burnat was unable to meet all the appointments on his gruelling programme. However, upon returning to Palestine, he expressed his deep appreciation for the care and compassion and concern of all, including the professional treatment by medical personnel, his hosts, activists and the Embassy of Palestine.

Muslim Views . January 2017


Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

Qibla Movement salutes Fidel Castro YUSUF ABRAHAMS

THE Qibla Movement hosted an extraordinary meeting on Saturday, December 17, 2016, at Livingstone High School, to pay homage to and honour the great revolutionary Cuban leader, the late Fidel Castro. In spite of the many counterattractions at that time of year, the meeting was exceptionally well-attended by individuals and representatives from organisations of various political persuasions, all of whom had gone to pay tribute to a man who is regarded as a legend in his country, and who played a significant role in the struggle for liberation from colonialism in Africa and South Africa. The highlight of the meeting was undoubtedly the stirring and much anticipated address of the Cuban deputy-ambassador, Pedro Arteaga Cardenas, the keynote speaker. The audience was kept spellbound by his factual and indepth account of the Cuban revolution, his long and close association with Fidel Castro and the fact that he was personally involved in the military battles in Angola. To crown everything, three renowned speakers, each in their own right a struggle stalwart, namely, Frank van der Horst, of South African Council on Sport (Sacos), Professor Brian Williams, from University of Western Cape (UWC), and Imam Achmad Cassiem of Qibla, took turns in addressing the enraptured audience, covering different aspects of Castro’s life. The following memoir of Fidel Castro will go a long way in

Muslim Views

On December 17, the Qibla Movement hosted an event to pay homage to the late revolutionary Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, at Livingstone High School. Speakers on the evening were (from left to right) Imam Achmad Cassiem, of Qibla, Cuban Deputy-Ambassador Pedro Arteaga Cardenas, who was the keynote speaker, Professor Brian Williams, of UWC, and Frank van der Horst, of Sacos. Photo TOYER NAKIDIEN

explaining why the Cuban people regarded him as the face and father of the nation, and why his many admirers throughout the world see him as a hero. It will also explain why Qibla deemed it a privilege to convene a discussion forum in his honour. Of course, he had his detractors and critics in the West who disapproved of his socialist economic model and one-party communist rule, even after the Soviet Union disintegrated. In his own words in 1953, Fidel Castro said, ‘Condemn me. It is of no importance. History will absolve me.’

Castro, who served as prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and as president from 1976 to 2008, died on November 25, 2016, at the age of 90. He served as Commander-inChief of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces from 1959 to 2008. Politically a Marxist-Leninist, under his administration Cuba became a one-party socialist state. Cuba supported the armed struggles of liberation movements of South Africa, Congo, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique. In fact, Cuba’s presence and

powerful military engagement in Southern Angola thwarted the apartheid state of South Africa, foiling its geopolitical strategies and forcing it to concede defeat at Cuito Cuanavale, in 1987, and ultimately forcing PW Botha and FW de Klerk to the negotiating table. Arguably, the greatest legacy of Castro was the phenomenal transformation of the Cuban education system that was achieved in the years that followed the 1959 revolution, when the USAbacked military junta of Cuban president Fulgencio Batista was overthrown.

Education was made free for all children and adults at every stage of education, from infant day-care to university, with students no longer required to pay for books, uniforms and stationery. The year 1961 saw the start of a massive literacy campaign where over 300 000 adults and children were sent to the rural areas of Cuba to teach. Volunteer teachers worked under the slogans: ‘If you know, teach; if you don’t know, learn’ and ‘Let those who know more, teach those who know less’. In this way, the literacy rates were raised and became the highest in the world. Although Castro was viewed by his critics as a dictator, which led to an exodus of over a million Cubans, mainly to Florida, in the USA, he was lauded by the vast majority of Cubans and worldwide supporters as an ‘internationalist’ and ‘environmentalist’ who championed the causes of socialism, anti-imperialism and humanitarianism. The evening was rounded off with a very informative and fruitful discussion on the life of the late Fidel Castro and the lessons we, South Africans, can learn from it.

Muslim Views . January 2017


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Muslim Views . January 2017

Cadre training workshop offers practical solutions AMINA WAGGIE

THE Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), together with Awqaf SA hosted the fourth annual Southern African Waqf cadre-training workshop at Islamia College, from Friday, December 9 to Sunday, December 11, 2016. The conference focused on practical business models of waqf, their viability and the room for enhancement. Most of the attendees were businessmen, ulama, students and awqaf volunteers. Each speaker focused on the topic of Waqf, and suggested ways in which greater awareness could be created to increase the amount of waqf funds being generated. Shaikh Ihsaan Taliep, principal of International Peace College South Africa (Ipsa) and president of the United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA), presented a paper on Waqf and Maqasid of the Shariah. The presentation related to the notion of the consideration of Waqf as a tool and mechanism to understand the laws and concept of sharia application in contemporary times, highlighting the relationship in particular to awqaf. According to Shaikh Taliep, the shariah is designed, in its entirety, to secure the well-being of society. Advocate Abu Bakr Mohamed, of the Islamic Council of South Africa (Icsa) and a founder member of Albaraka Bank, presented a talk titled ‘Waqf as a Community Development Strategy’.

Husain Benyounis, founder member and Secretary General of Awqaf New Zealand is pictured showing the wool of a New Zealand sheep used for the benefit of the poor by means of waqf small enterprise development projects. He presented a practical model for a waqf project using materials (sheep wool, skin and bones) that are typically treated as waste in the Muslim world. He showed how substantial charitable potential could be utilised by the Muslim world and by Muslims in Muslim-minority countries. Estimated sacrifices of Muslims in western countries reach over five million per year. In addition, the Gulf States alone sacrifice, externally, over 600 000. Moreover, 230 000 sacrifices are implemented by Indonesian pilgrims. The potential charitable benefit, along with Awqaf New Zealand’s proposed mechanism to take advantage of the wool, skin and bones of these sacrifices, is expected to significantly expand the yield in small enterprises, mostly for the benefit of the poor and needy. Photo NAZMEH SCHROEDER

Mohamed focused on the maqasid of shariah and how it affects the goodness and wellbeing of the human being. He argued that South Africans need to become self-reliant. In the new democracy, people are able to choose. They can either be dependent or self-reliant, there is no middle ground. Mohamed Mazen Dakhli is an expert in risk management and Islamic finance. He is currently involved in establishing the economic empowerment institution named Zitouna Tamkeen, on behalf of Zitouna Bank, in

Tunisia. His paper was on Waqf for Development, focusing on case studies of Palestine and Sudan. He discussed the high risk involvement in waqf development compared to classic waqf, where there is low risk. Mazen also proposed a full merging method developed by IDB to invest with the poor and marginalised, such as low-income populations and unemployed youth, by using Islamic financing. Husain Benyounis is one of the founding members and Secretary General of Awqaf New Zealand.

His role is to revive and increase the effectiveness of the Islamic waqf and relief industry in providing mechanisms and institutions for developing optimum use of the resources of charities for achieving self-sufficiency in accordance with shariah. Benyounis explained the difference between a temporary cash waqf and a permanent cash waqf. He also discussed the importance of the mechanisms involved when establishing sukuk, halaal bonds. He pointed out that qurbani is potentially the biggest source of waste in charity if one considers the value of parts of the animal, like the hide, which may be used for independent industries and small business development. Dr Magda Ismail Abdul Muhsin is an associate professor

currently working at the Global University of Islamic Finance as a lecturer, researcher and author. She gave a brief overview of waqf and identified successful cases of waqf transformation, of old waqf properties being turned into business and investment models. She also explained the key restrictions of waqf, namely that it is irrevocable, perpetual and inalienable. Thandile Kona is a youth activist and president of the Muslim Youth Movement (MYM) of South Africa. He is also the chairperson of the Kwa-Nobuhle Muslim Community (KMC) and a member of the House of Ummah, an advocacy association of Muslims. He spoke on Waqf and Township Revitalisation. He gave a brief history of townships, their economic and physical conditions, and suggested that there is huge capital and human resource potential within the townships. Kona presented a possible way to harness large sums of capital by introducing cash waqf to the people and using this to foster education, skills development and entrepreneurship. The value of the conference was in the interactive lectures, workshops and discussions by the experts and various stakeholders in waqf, generally. Essentially, it provided participants with basic and advanced knowledge and skills, based on the values that underpin Islamic waqf. Ultimately, the participants are expected to use the knowledge and skills gained in order to advise, consult, train and implement.







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Muslim Views . January 2017


Youth unite to address violence against women and girls NURUDEAN SSEMPA

THE first Orange the World International Youth Summit was held in Cape Town on December 10, 2016, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (November 25 – December 10) at the Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel, in Cape Town. The one-day event attracted youth from diverse backgrounds to unite in combatting the scourge of violence against women and girls. The youth were involved in activities like drawings, paintings, group discussions and presentations, and open mike performances. According to the youth summit convener, Fatima Hendricks, of Madina Institute’s Centre for Non-Violence and Peace Studies, the aim of the youth summit was to educate and empower the youth to transi-

(Right) Youth had the opportunity to engage and reflect on issues of citizenship, social justice and community engagement at the Orange the World Youth Summit held in Cape Town, in Photo NURUDEAN SSEMPA December.

(Above) Youth have their say on gender-based violence at the end of the Orange the World Youth Summit held in Cape Town, in December. Photo NURUDEAN SSEMPA

tion from a culture of segregation and violence to one of unity in diversity, non-vio-

lence and peace; especially because genderbased violence is known to frustrate and obstruct women and girls’ ability to fully realise their potential. A recent study conducted by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in three provinces of South Africa showed that one in four women in the general population have experienced physical violence at some point in their lives. Similarly, a study conducted by Gender Links in four provinces of South Africa reported that all the participants had experienced some form of violence (emotional, economic, physical or sexual) at least once in their lifetime both within and outside their intimate relationships. The same Gender Links report suggests that a large percentage of men (Gauteng 78%; Limpopo 48%; Western Cape 35%; and KwaZulu-Natal 41%) admitted to committing some form of violence against women in their lifetime. While acknowledging the support of the various parties involved for giving young people the platform at the Orange the World Youth Summit, Justine-Jo Bester, of Wynberg High School Peace Club, said: ‘I grew up in Manenberg in a home where abuse became a norm and acceptable to society. ‘Today, we can make a difference by taking the lead and make it known to our young people that they are responsible to help shape our societies that lost their way of having a healthy family lifestyle.’ From November 25 to December 10, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aims to raise public awareness and mobilise people everywhere to bring about change. The Orange the World initiative is supported by the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Office. The colour orange was chosen for this

campaign because it symbolises a brighter future without violence. According to Sarah Oliver, of UCT Global Citizenship Programme, and a member of the Orange the World Youth Summit organising team, the youth liked the different sessions in which they were engaged, and were more empowered to tackle the different challenges they face in their communities. Other organisations involved in arranging the world youth summit were: Madina Institute Centre for Non-violence and Peace Studies; Cape Town Young Men Christian Association (YMCA); Muslim Refugees Association of South Africa (MRASA); Cape Town Inter-Faith Initiative; the United Nations Association of South Africa (UNASA); Africa Unite; Rock Girl and InkuluFreeHeid. The Orange the World Youth Summit was sponsored by the bottlers of Jive, Wholesome Bread, Planet Mercy South Africa, Gift of the Givers, FD Project, Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel and Regent Business School, among others. For more information on the Orange the World Youth Summit, please visit:

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Muslim Views . January 2017



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Muslim Views . January 2017


Innovative project supports fifteen crèches in KZN MAHMOOD SANGLAY

THE greater Edendale area covers about 48 square kilometres in KwaZulu-Natal. Its population of 450 000 people is almost 99,5 per cent black. In a 2016 study by Marc Epprecht, Welcome to Greater Edendale: Histories of Environment, Health, and Gender in an African City, the township is described as struggling ‘against its legacies of environmental injustice’. The problems of the township include ‘severe pollution, intractable poverty’ and conditions directly related to one of the worst HIV/ AIDS pandemics in the world. According to Epprecht, an indelible part of Edendale’s legacy is its colonial and apartheid history, which has informed postapartheid policies to address social and economic problems. The township is generally overlooked by media but, says Epprecht, it attracts political patronage and corruption. Edendale is affected by violent protests and is even threatened by a strain on its infrastructure, social services and public health by rapid climate change. The life prospects for children in this social context are bleak as their basic education is seriously compromised. It is against this background that the Greater Edendale Muslim Society (Gems) emerged in 2007 as a non-government organisation doing exceptional work in Early Childhood Development (ECD). The programme of Gems was pioneered by Dr Ghamiet Aysen, a former senior manager with the Department of Health. He holds an MBA and a PhD. At present, he is an entrepreneur in electrical engineering in Cato Ridge. Aysen is committed to investing in the holistic education of young children as a means of addressing the social ills of Edendale. In July 2016, he published an independent monograph entitled A Contribution Towards Social Reform and Rural Education in South Africa. Like Epprecht, Aysen identifies unemployment, a lack of basic services and serious health challenges, including one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world, as the legacy of Edendale. Thousands of children are without parents. Many live with their grandparents and many children are the heads of households. Aysen, therefore, decided to design a programme involving intervention at ECD level in Edendale. The Gems programme essentially aims to build ‘centres

Luthando Crèche, in Mpumelelo, Edendale, was part of a Muslim Views site visit on October 20. Standing at the back are, from left, Sumeya Ngwenya, the helper, and Bashira Madunge, the crèche owner and teacher. The facility accommodates 24 children and operates from the lounge of its owner who has converted it into a crèche. Photo MAHMOOD SANGLAY

of excellence’ by establishing crèches designed to impact on the lives of the children, the parents and the teachers. The curriculum, which is modelled on Montessori principles, aims to offer the ‘best secular and Islamic education’. In addition, the Islamic Educational Organisation of Southern Africa (IEOSA) provides training, formal curriculum and assessment services. The programme is designed to empower the staff. With the exception of one crèche, all teachers are women. They were all initially untrained. However, Gems provides the necessary training, ensures that Montessori principles are adopted and that IEOSA does the assessment. All the costs associated with this training are borne by Gems. There are 15 crèches supported by Gems, some of which function at pre-school level, as well as eight daily afternoon madrasah classes. The number of children enrolled at the crèches is 477. The staff complement is 51, comprising 23 teachers, 22 helpers, two co-ordinators, two coaches, one driver and one administrator. Some of the crèches are mud huts but they are owned by members of the local community. By employing a ‘bottom up approach’ Gems empowers the owners while ensuring that they are appropriately positioned for responsibility, accountability and independence. The owner of each crèche manages it as an independent enterprise although it is part of the Gems network that provides funding and material support. The intervention by Gems is for the purpose of empowerment, designed to enable sustainability and independence. Invariably, the owners, usually

the ECD teachers, bring entrepreneurial skills to the project to contribute to sustainability. However, the teachers are mainly required to ensure performance in respect of the standards set by IEOSA. They are evaluated on their knowledge of the curriculum and are expected to obtain a minimum mark of 60 per cent in the IEOSA examinations. The financial and material support provided by Gems is offered on condition that the teachers pass the IEOSA examinations and its continuous assessments. Aysen told Muslim Views that four of the fifteen affiliates who have consistently scored below 60 per cent in their assessments will be de-registered in 2017 and will no longer be supported by Gems. The Gems crèches generally adopt a holistic approach to education. In this respect, each child is provided with a nutritious breakfast and a hot meal for lunch, daily. Each crèche has a kitchen – in some cases, a very rudimentary facility – that is suited to prepare meals, with the support of the helper and the professional expertise of a nutritionist. The results of a survey conducted by Aysen of parent and teacher perceptions of the Gems

Thandokuhle Crèche, in France, Edendale, operates from a shipping container and is owned by Shamila Ndlovu. Dr Ghamiet Aysen is pictured here holding four-year-old Lumkelo Majola, one of the sixteen children at the crèche, which was started in 2012. Photo MAHMOOD SANGLAY

programme indicate that there is a positive perception of its ‘contribution to education and society and by bridging the education divide and enhancing the moral development of the community’. These results, Aysen adds, must be viewed in the context of a community in which single-parent homes and child-headed households are common and where there is a serious problem of drugs, alcohol and other substance abuse. In addition, domestic violence and sexual abuse are also common social problems. The Gems curriculum includes regular physical activity, such as wacko ball, which is part of the holistic programme offered and prescribed to the affiliated crèches. All the crèches have running water and toilet facilities. Hygiene is integral to the curriculum and cleanliness, even with rudimentary facilities, is espoused as a core value. Discipline, respect and hard work are also part of the Gems ethos. The forms of support provided by Gems are monthly supplies of food for the children’s breakfast and lunch, stationery and equipment, the training of teachers in Montessori and stipends to supplement the fees income.

In some cases, where the need is urgent, infrastructure such as brick and mortar facilities are erected to replace mud huts. Aysen is confident that the Gems model is replicable and can be implemented nationally for the benefit of children, and as an investment in their future. He adds that, as a Muslim organisation, ‘the children in the township are the true daees to propagate our deen’. He says the Gems programme has influenced many parents to embrace Islam. Funding for Gems is sourced from donors in Malaysia, Australia and Aysen himself. The organisation is registered with the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and is certified under section 18A, which entitles South African donors to claim rebates from Sars. Gems is also registered with the Muslim Charitable Foundation and has NPO status with the Department of Social Development as a non-profit organisation. Anyone who is willing and able to support Gems or who wishes to make further enquiries about the project may call the administrator, Farhana Gannie at 033 394 7306 or 082 063 8330 or email at

Mohamed Nyenbe is pictured preparing the madrasah children of Yenzokuhle Madrasah for prayer. Nyembe’s mother was the original owner and teacher at the crèche but she passed away in 2015. He has since taken ownership of the school and studied ECD at college in order to meet the requirements for continued affiliation to Gems. Photo MAHMOOD SANGLAY

This plaque is a tribute to one of the sources of funding for one of the Gems crèches. Dr Ghamiet Aysen believes that although the project is sustained by limited support and funding locally and from foreign sources, it should be fully funded by local donors. Photo MAHMOOD SANGLAY

Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

Post-truth, the Big Brother of disinformation SHAFIQ MORTON

MY first piece for Muslim Views for 2017 was meant to be a rediscovery of Shaikh Yusuf of Makasar. However, events in Syria over the holiday period have presented more pressing issues so Shaikh Yusuf is on the back burner, for now. Syria has typified everything that has been going on in the media in the past year, an annus horribilis for us journalists covering world events. What caught my attention was that the Oxford Dictionary had voted ‘post-truth’ the word of the year. By definition, post-truth is when ‘objective facts’ – or reason – become ‘less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. To put it more bluntly, the post-truth era gives public figures licence to lie. The US comedian, Steven Colbert, called it ‘truthiness’, a belief that what you feel is true rather than what the facts support. In this scenario, it makes it easy to find a Zionist under every bush or the forces of white capitalism behind every corrupted South African politician. The Syrian conflict, representing agendas from at least six foreign players, has been the worst victim. When states can spread falsehood with such sophistication – as the US, Israel, Russia and Iran can – post-truth becomes a dangerous and divisive thing. Is Syria a US-Russia Cold War play? Is it about gas pipelines? Is it about the so-called ‘Shia crescent’? Most of us hear only what we want to hear, and the conse-

Muslim Views

The Syrian conflict, representing agendas from at least six foreign players, has been the worst victim. When states can spread falsehood with such sophistication – as the US, Israel, Russia and Iran can – post-truth becomes a dangerous and divisive thing. quences are far reaching. It’s a cliché but we live in a worldwide village of overwhelming data – raw, unprocessed data – and in this digital universe, there is always someone prepared to peddle our worldview, despite its unreality. In other words, conspiracy theories can be created at will. Climate change can be dismissed, politicians can use non sequiturs, or blame ghostly third forces, when facing our serious questions on economics, governance and accountability. Truth becomes relative and not the absolute it should be. The prime example of this is Donald Trump, a congenital liar tapping randomly into societal unease by spewing xenophobia, sexism and preying on genuine working-class fears. Trump was click-bait deluxe and, by simply being Donald, he grabbed the headlines. The US media, who feasted on his crassness, realised too late that they’d let a genie out of a bottle. Middle America, yearning for a quick fix to its enduring socioeconomic woes, had been stirred by Trump’s armchair mantras, which sometimes hit the target and sometimes not – except that when they didn’t, nobody was listening. Another phenomenon, together with post-truth, has been the advent of ‘fake news’ pedalled

especially on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes, advertising ploys designed to generate mouse-clicks and sometimes mischievous – or even genuinely satirical ventures – these fake news URLs created havoc in the media. With newsrooms already gutted by digital attrition and corporate cost-cutting, the few qualified journalists left behind have been left to deal with the damage. There is hardly a newsroom that doesn’t have a list on its bulletin board naming fake news sites due to their reporters having fallen for the trick. The US website Buzzfeed reported that President Obama had banned the pledge of allegiance in schools. It clocked up two million hits before being found to be untrue. Other major fake news events were the Pope endorsing Trump, Isis supporting Hillary Clinton and a woman defaecating on her boss’s desk after winning the lottery. Back home, we had Zuma dying (several times), Mandoza passing on (he hadn’t), the government banning lobola, Trump threatening to capture Robert Mugabe and a gay baboon terrorising a village. And while some of the fake news is funny and difficult to take seriously, reports of people dying are not. Where fake news and posttruth have their worst impact, however, are in parts of the world

where there is conflict. When the Russian-Iranian supported advance on eastern Aleppo became news in December, it was an immediate headache. With ‘fake’ journalists abounding, from Syrian and other quarters, it became difficult to ascertain exactly what was going on. From ‘embedded’ reporters in east Aleppo – whose phone batteries mysteriously never went flat – to Russian shills, it seemed as if one was dealing with entirely different universes. Reports varied from people cheering at Assadaligned troops to women committing suicide at the prospect of being raped by Assad-aligned troops. In all of this, we journalists trying to make sense of things have also become victims – mainly of abuse – in a case of if your agenda doesn’t fit someone else’s, it becomes a case of shoot the messenger. There is no neutral space, and even humanitarian organisations have felt the trigger. In emotionally polarised scenarios, it is much easier for people to hang on to post-truth than to interrogate events. Burst that bubble and your life will become hell: the invective will be harsh, it will recognise no personal boundaries – and what is worse, it will come from mainly anonymous sources, themselves mirroring the worst of the sectarianism tearing the Middle East apart.

Of course, criticism is healthy and part of the job but 2016 has definitely been the worst in four decades of journalism. And if we think 2017 is going to be any better, we will be disappointed – post-truth has been coming at us for some time and, terrifyingly, looks like it will be around for some time, too. Twenty-five years ago, a Serbian-American playwright, Steve Tesich, first coined the term ‘posttruth’ in an essay entitled ‘A Government of Lies’. He wrote in The Nation that after Watergate and Vietnam, the US public had come to equate truth with bad news. Consequently, it didn’t want bad news anymore, no matter how vital it was to the health of the nation. ‘We looked to our government to protect us from the truth,’ wrote Tesich. And while the initial context of post-truth is an American one, this Big Brother of disinformation in our digital century has ensured that its effects will be global. The implications for the future of the world community understanding itself are frightening. A quarter of a century later, Tesich’s words are still poignant: ‘We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. ‘We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world.’


Muslim Views . January 2017

In this series, which was launched in our December 2016 edition, we publish edited versions of papers delivered by the various participants at the International Peace College South Africa’s third annual Women in Islam-Women in South Africa (Wiwisa) conference. The theme was ‘Muslim Women at the Intersection of Violence: Contextualising Poverty, Racism and Terror’. Karen Jayes spoke about the violent impact of Islamophobia, with a response by Imam Dr Abdul Rashied Omar.

Intersections of terror: The violent impact of Islamophobia globally KAREN JAYES

FOR those unfamiliar with CAGE, we are an advocacy organisation that campaigns for the rights of Muslims impacted by the War on Terror. This means we advocate for due process and the rule of law in terrorism trials – in short, an adherence to all the principles of a fair trial. We also campaign for an end to extrajudicial violence, including torture and drone strikes, and a negotiated settlement to the end of the War on Terror. We also campaign against current counter-terrorism legislation and counter-extremism initiatives since we believe that these target Muslims specifically and are highly politicised. We also work to reverse Islamophobic narratives that are perpetrated in order to sustain the global ‘War on Terror’; narratives that link Islam to violence and result in hate crime against Muslims. Much of this hate crime is directed against women. In the UK alone, there has been an incredible 326 per cent increase in incidents in 2015, with many Muslim women being afraid to conduct their daily lives. This is because 61 per cent of victims in the cases of hate crime are women and, of those, 75 per cent were clearly identifiable as Muslim due to their headscarves or veils. This Islamophobia directed against women is highly patriarchal in nature since the assailants are men. It had its most recent legislative manifestation in the banning of the burkini in France, and the burqa and niqab in Belguim and, more recently, Germany – again, bans initiated in the majority by men. In the UK, as with many countries in Europe, Islamophobia is fanned by politicians and the media who see Muslims through the lens of terrorism. This is made worse by the fact that less than 0,5 per cent of journalists in the UK are Muslim. In South Africa, the majority of senior journalists and opinion leaders that cover terrorism stories are also not Muslim. There is also a lack of Muslim influence in newsrooms where editorial decisions are made, and an ignorance of basic Islamic concepts and principles. This imbalance results in onesided reporting where so-called ‘security analysts’ with vested political interests – often backed by US funding – are quoted with no balancing voice. This results in a climate of fear and suspicion towards Muslims, a climate which is ripe for the introduction of so-called ‘countering violent extremism’ initiatives, or CVE.

An attempt to shape and influence belief In 2006, Douglas Murray, an associate director of the Henry Jackson Society, a neo-conservative think tank in the UK that shapes opinion and policy and which has been instrumental in the shaping of UK counterextremism policies, said, ‘Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.’ Europe, he said, must be made to be an unattractive place for Muslims.

The Henry Jackson Society, which has deep Islamophobic roots, has also been quoted extensively in the South African press as an expert on terrorism. These links are by no means coincidental but are part of a broader plan to initiate CVE in South Africa Ex-DA leader Tony Leon, who is now the head of a consultancy called Resolve Communications, in South Africa, was a guest of the Henry Jackson Society recently in the UK. Leon’s consultancy seeks, among other things, to influence South African government policy. The Henry Jackson Society, which has deep Islamophobic roots, has also been quoted extensively in the South African press as an expert on terrorism. These links are by no means coincidental but are part of a broader plan to initiate CVE in South Africa. CVE capitalises on the threat of an imminent terrorist attack and thrives in an environment of fear. These programmes aim to identify those at risk of ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’ – but the definitions of these terms are vague and easily adapted to enforce a chosen hegemony. This is clearly evidenced by the questions posed to high school students as part of the UK’s counter-extremism programme, PREVENT. These questions, seen by CAGE, included questions to young people about their views of other religions and on contentious issues such as jihad and homosexuality. The aim is to use the answers to identify individuals who are ‘extreme’ – and report them to security services. Once reported, the impact on lives can be devastating. In the UK, children as young as four-years-old have been reported for holding ‘extremist’ views, and in some instances have been removed from their families. PREVENT has also honed in on women. CAGE has recorded cases where mothers are visited by security services in relation to their children, and where mothers who choose to home school their children are questioned. Honing in on beliefs in this way is not only a form of subtle structural violence directed at Muslims but is also a method that can be easily applied to other groups of different faiths. The result is a form of self-censorship among Muslims, where certain ideas are pushed underground, where they are more likely to find violent expression than had they been allowed to be naturally mitigated through open debate. In this way, CVE stands in danger of actually bringing on the violence it purports to want to avoid.

The urgent need for a more just society What are the solutions? CAGE has always been of the view that it is grievances that are at the heart of violence. These grievances centre on an aggressive

Notion of extremism not completely foreign to Islam IMAM DR ABDUL RASHIED OMAR

IN our analysis of the root causes of the global rise in Islamophobia, we need to understand the phenomenon as a complex combination of a number of variables, including the religio-cultural, the socio-economic and global political contexts. I believe that CAGE is absolutely correct in placing much of the blame for the current cycle of violence and the consequent rise of Islamophobia in the world squarely at the door of Western European powers and in particular the US. CAGE is also correct in identifying drone attacks as one of the chief ways in which this war on terror was globally prosecuted. The hegemonic view about the use of drones in warfare is that of a surgically precise tool that makes the world a safer place by enabling targeted killings of socalled terrorists without collateral damage. This narrative has proved to be patently false. A growing number of credible research studies are confirming that the negative effects of drone strikes are fuelling public resentment against US foreign policy and that of its Western allies. Thus, an aggressive foreign policy ostensibly intended to counter global terrorism has, instead, had the effect of providing fodder for the recruitment and growth of Muslim extremist groups. Lamentably, the mainstream media and many academic analyses of the crisis in the Middle East and elsewhere seldom highlight this important part of the root causes of the cycle of violence in the world today. However, to reduce the root causes of the cycle of violence in the world today solely to US imperialism and Western European policies is disingenuous. While there are indeed highly contested definitions of the term ‘extremism’, the terminology and notion of extremism, or ‘tararuf’ in Arabic, is not completely foreign and alien to Islam. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself called it out for reprobation when he proclaimed three times: ‘The extremist shall perish.’ (Sahih Muslim) Moreover, Muslim extremism is a reality in our world today, and is represented in the form of diverse networks who claim an Islamic affiliation, such as the so-

called Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (Isis or Isil, also know by its Arabic acronym Daesh), AlQaida, the Taliban, Boko Haram and Al-Shabab. These are not all fictitious Muslim networks nor are they being dragged kicking and screaming into the global cycle of violence we are witnessing. Muslim extremism is real and Muslims do indeed have agency for the violent atrocities they perpetrate almost daily in the name of Islam. Moreover, it is disingenuous to account for Muslim extremism by arguing that ‘recent Isis attacks have been conducted by individuals with known mental illnesses or sociopaths who have little connection with Islam’. There may indeed be some individuals who conform to such profiles but to taint all of those who have made hijra and migrated to the Islamic Caliphate of Daesh with the same brush is simply inaccurate. One of the best counter examples to this apologetic Muslim narrative of dismissing those who support Daesh or other Muslim extremist causes as being lunatics is that of the well-known South African Muslim scholar, Moulana Rashid Moosagie. In 2015, Moulana Moosagie emigrated to Syria and joined the Islamic State. He left Port Elizabeth with his wife, adult sons and daughter, and parted with the circle of ulama in a city where he had served the Muslim community for more than 30 years. In a public letter which he sent home, Moulana Moosagie claims that it is theologically mandatory (wajib) for a Muslim to migrate to the Isis-controlled Syria and Iraq where Allah’s law (shariah) is applied. Moulana Moosagie and his family are not the only South African Muslims who believe that it is wajib to make hijra, or migrate, to the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq. During the past two years, there have been reliable reports that South Africans have left our country to join Daesh in Syria. It is palpable that there is a crisis of extremism gripping the global Muslim ummah. We are not immune to it and we cannot remain silent about it. Jayes is correct in suggesting that our youth remains Daesh’s most vulnerable victims, and we need to help them understand the detrimental nature of their extremist ideology.

The best way of doing so is by empowering them with a lifeaffirming, compassionate and more inclusive understanding of Islam. While we in South Africa may not have experienced the direct impact of extremist violence, we know that there are some within our communities who harbour support for the sectarian tendencies that fuel much of the extremist violence of Daesh. These sectarian tendencies are what we have to curb and challenge before they gain further traction in our communities. As conscientious Muslims and committed citizens of this country, we should lend our support to the South African government to assist it in whichever way we can and to avert any crime or attack by extremists of whatever stripe. At the same time, as CAGE Africa rightly reminds us, we need to remain vigilant and condemn attempts by agents provocateurs and information peddlers who mislead the public with spurious information which has no factual basis. As conscientious Muslims and responsible citizens, we cannot remain silent in the face of wanton loss of human life, whether at the hands of Muslim extremists or state terror. We should never become desensitised to the devastating loss of human life, and should all take collective and individual responsibility to raise our voices in condemnation. If we are truly committed to fighting against the violent impact of Islamophobia globally then we have to fight against all systems of oppression and to strive for justice for all communities who are the victims of violence and persecution in this country and globally. We cannot fight oppression and injustice selectively or stand with some groups merely because they profess the same faith as ours, and not with others. We have to embrace what is now called an intersectional struggle for social justice – a struggle that encompasses all forms of zulm (oppression) and injustice for all of humankind. Imam Dr Abdul Rashied Omar obtained a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Cape Town. He is currently a research scholar of Islamic Studies and Peacebuilding at University of Notre Dame, USA, and serves as imam at Claremont Main Road Mosque, in Cape Town.

foreign policy in the Middle East, and increasing securitisation and surveillance of Muslims by domestic governments. Only once these grievances are addressed, and relieved, will the cycle of violence and Islamophobia cease. CAGE continues to raise these inconvenient truths and we have had some success in calling for an

end to PREVENT in the UK, to such an extent that the policy itself is being hotly debated and opposed by leading academics and politicians. Nonetheless, it is still forming ‘best practice’ for the rest of the world in a global programme of CVE that seeks to shape what is acceptable Islam and what isn’t. It is up to Muslims to resist

these programmes, stand up against violence in all forms and unite to demand a more tolerant, just global society. Karen Jayes is a published author and winner of the Sunday Times Literary Award for Fiction for her book ‘For the Mercy of Water’. She is also local coordinator of CAGE Africa, a branch of CAGE in the UK. Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

Let’s make 2017 the year of Improving Road Safety

Ashref Ismail, who shares monthly motoring news with Muslim Views’ readers. Photo SUPPLIED

SO the holiday season is over. We have survived another festive period and, hopefully, the holidays provided a welcome respite from the daily grind. This is also the time of the year when we do some introspection and come up with various resolutions dealing with our personal and professional lives. How about adding to that a small but very significant resolution of improving road safety? Needless to say, media reports have, once again, been filled with the horror and carnage on our roads. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is only a holiday season occurrence. We lose an average of 40 people, daily, on our roads. It is not news anymore and we have become largely immune to news of road crashes. Road crashes are caused by human error and are almost always preceded by an offence of

some sort. Sometimes, there are multiple factors (offences) that lead to fatal consequences. Remarkably, road crashes can be avoided because it is a behavioural problem. We need to educate ourselves, change our attitude and implement responsible road behaviour that will ensure that we reduce offence and casualty rates in the country. Let’s make the following Cardinal Rules of Road Safety part of our New Year’s resolutions: l Intoxicants and road safety do not mix: according to the Medical Research Council, more than 65 per cent of all weekend crashes in the country are as a result of the abuse of alcohol or drugs, either by a driver or a pedestrian. Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs reduces your reasoning power, slows down reflexes, affects your vision, increases risk-taking behaviour and, generally, results in loss of coherent thinking. All of which can have disastrous consequences on the road. l Buckle up for life: the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) as well as University of Stellenbosch have often mentioned a well-known fact: if we can increase our seatbelt wearing rate from the 65 per cent for front occupants and the dismally low, less than three per cent for rear seat passengers, there is an immediate

Road crashes can be avoided. They are caused by human error and are almost always preceded by an offence of some sort. Be conscious of road safety and you will not be part of the horror and carnage that is a daily occurrence on our roads. Photo QUICKPIC

30 per cent reduction in road crash fatalities. Seatbelts do not necessarily prevent you from having a crash but certainly reduce your chances of being killed or seriously injured by more than 75 per cent. It’s a no brainer – let us buckle up, all the time! l The use of child seats is now mandatory. Make sure you buy a quality, approved, agespecific seat that will enhance the safety of your loved ones. This is not a luxury but a necessity. Apart from the physical safety benefits, there are immense psychological benefits as well since children will learn from a young age that buckling up is the right thing to do. Remember, when transporting infants in the front passenger seat, they must be

placed facing rearwards with the passenger airbag switched off. l Talking or texting while driving is a big no-no. If you talk while driving, you have a four times greater chance of being involved in a crash. If you text while driving you have a seven times greater chance of being involved in a crash. That is tantamount to driving while being four times over the alcohol limit! Hands-free units help but not entirely so avoid taking calls while driving. Rather, pull over somewhere safe or return the calls when you reach your destination. l Excessive speeding, speeds too high for the conditions are killers so don’t fool yourself. Crashes occur because you did not have the time and/ or space to bring the vehicle to a stop. The faster you travel, the longer your stopping/ braking distance and the harder you will hit the object. Keep within the speed limit and ensure you observe a safe following distance. l Pedestrian safety is as much your responsibility as it is theirs. More than 40 per cent of our annual fatality rates comprise pedestrians. This is unacceptably high. Pedestrian vulnerability is characterised by pedestrians who jaywalk, walk while being distracted, walk on freeways, walk while wearing dark clothes at night or walk while being drunk.

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Remember, if you hit a pedestrian at any speed above 50 km/h, the chances of the person’s survival reduce tremendously. Be aware of pedestrians, especially when passing informal settlements alongside major arterial routes. Generally speaking, make road safety one of your priorities this year. It does not take much effort. It requires you to practise ‘The Three Ps’. Be prepared, be polite, be patient. This approach will ensure that you will be less stressed, more confident and provide greater safety for you and those around you. Driving requires 25 per cent physical effort and 75 per cent mental concentration. This begins with effective observation and obeying all road traffic rules. A course in advanced defensive driving is an invaluable investment that will teach life-saving skills. Driver enhancement training is an investment, not an expense, so book a course today and you will witness the difference. Remember, ultimately, road safety is everyone’s responsibility, and it starts with you! Have a great year as you work towards realising your various dreams and resolutions – and be safe out there!

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Muslim Views . January 2017


Hino aims to continue reliability record in its 26th Dakar Rally HINO Motors Limited, Japan’s leading truck manufacturer, will enter its customary two trucks in the 2017 Dakar Rally in South America as it aims to extend its record to 26 consecutive finishes in this gruelling two-week event. Hino will also be out to win the class for trucks with engines under 10-litres capacity for the eighth time in a row. Once again, the team will be managed by Team Sugawara, and is a joint venture with Hino engineers who have further improved the performance of the two 500series four-wheel drive trucks. Hino is once again the only entry from a Japanese truck manufacturer, with all the other trucks coming from Eastern and Western Europe. This year’s route of almost 9 000km goes from Asuncion, in Paraguay, on January 2 via Bolivia to the finish in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 14. This is the first time the route goes through Paraguay, which makes it the 29th country in the world that the Dakar has traversed in its history, which dates to 1977. Paraguay is the fifth South American country to be on the rally route. The 2017 event has attracted 344 entries, with 54 trucks, 136 cars, 110 motorcycles and 44 quads. Hino No. 1 is based on the truck that raced in the 2016 event, with updates to the performance of the 9-litre, straight six

The two Hino 500 series trucks which will compete again with 562 other trucks in the 2017 Dakar RallY.

turbocharged engine and suspension upgrades. The engine now develops 650 hp of power and 2 255Nm of torque. Truck No. 2 is new for the 2017 event with improved durability components following participation in the Silk Way Rally, in July. (The latter was an 11 000km event from Moscow to Beijing). Both trucks have six-speed transmissions with No. 1 being part-time four-wheel drive and No. 2 having full-time four-wheel drive.

Hino No. 1 will be driven by Yoshimasa Sugawara, with Mitsugu Takahashi doing the navigating, while Yoshimasa’s son, Teruhito, will drive Hino No. 2, with Hiroyuki Sugiura as his navigator. These are the only twoman crews on the event, with all the other truck racers opting for a crew of three people. Team director Yoshimasa Sugawara has entered the Dakar Rally 33 times consecutively – a record. He is the only Japanese to have competed in this epic race


on a motorcycle and quad as well as in a car and truck. Now 74-years-old, he holds the record for the most consecutive finishes in the Dakar Rally, at 25. His son, Teruhito, contested the Dakar Rally for the 18th time in 2016, finishing in the top ten on 13 occasions. Interestingly, the second Dakar in which Hino participated, in 1972, finished in Cape Town after starting in Paris, with the Japanese trucks in 4th, 5th, 6th and 10th positions.

This was the first time that Yoshimasa Sugawara had driven a Hino and he has continued to do so since then. The big breakthrough for Hino came in 1994, with a second position overall. This achievement was repeated in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2005. The most successful year for Hino was 1997 when it became the first and, until 2011, the only maker to take the first three places overall in the truck category when the route went from Dakar to Agades and back to Dakar. As usual, most of the members of the Team Sugawara Hino support crew are mechanics selected from Hino dealerships in Japan. The truck entry for the 2017 Dakar Rally is made up of 12 makes of truck. Most popular for the 2017 event is MAN with 16 entries. The other makes are: DAF (8), Iveco (6), Tatra (6), Kamaz (4), Maz (3), Ginaf (3), Renault (3), Hino (2), Liaz (1), Scania (1) and Mercedes-Benz (1). Hino says that by continuing to take part in what is known as the most gruelling rally on the planet, the company can hone its truck-building and servicing capabilities. In line with its corporate vision, this helps Hino make the world a better place to live in by helping people and goods get where they need to go, safely, economically and with environmental responsibility, while focusing on sustainable development.

Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

Mazda CX-3 Introduces ‘Jinba-Ittai’ CONTINUING the rollout of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology, Mazda has introduced SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS. This is a series of new-generation vehicle motion control technologies that provide integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis and body to enhance the vehicle’s Jinba-Ittai; a sense of connectedness between car and driver that distinguishes Mazda

vehicles. The G-Vectoring Control (GVC) is the first innovation from this series and it will now be introduced in the 2017 model year Mazda CX-3. It engages by finely controlling engine torque that is based on the steering and acceleration of the driver, resulting in improved handling for the driver and ride quality for the passengers around corners. G-Vectoring Control will be

introduced to future, new-generation models. In addition to the carried over model line-up, the 2017 CX-3 model range sees an addition of the Mazda CX-3 2.0L Individual Plus derivative. This new derivative comes with advanced safety features that include Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Driver Attention Alert

(DAA) and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM). Enhancements include an exterior side door garnishing on the Individual and Individual Plus derivatives as well as an addition of two new exterior colours: Eternal Blue Mica and Machine Gray Metallic. Representing the next level of Mazda’s premium colour palette, Machine Gray Metallic expresses the beauty of a machine’s strength

and precision and achieves both high-contrast shadows and a high-density finish to give a realistic metallic feel. Backed by a 3-year unlimited kilometre factory warranty, the enhanced Mazda CX-3 is designed and built to the highest standard of performance and reliability. CONTINUED ON PAGE 17


Muslim Views

Muslim Views . January 2017


For complete peace of mind motoring, a 3-year roadside assistance, a 3-year service plan and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty are also included. The G-Vectoring Control was born of Mazda’s human-centred development philosophy and the novel idea of using the engine to enhance the vehicle’s chassis performance. It is the world’s first control system to vary engine torque in response to steering inputs in order to provide integrated control of lateral and longitudinal

acceleration forces, and optimises the vertical load on each wheel for smooth and efficient vehicle motion. G-Vectoring Control detects steering inputs and slightly restricts engine torque output to shift vehicle weight forward slightly, adding more down force to the front tyres. It’s a handling aid that aims to make race car-like cornering precision something that every driver can enjoy, which leads to more direct handling and swifter reactions from the car which are interpreted more readily and accurately by the ‘human body’ – the driver – in control.


Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH)

Lane Departure Warning (LDW)

Smart City Brake Support (SCBS)

ALH has three major functions: glare-free High Beam, wide-range Low Beam and Highway mode. Glare-free High Beam recognises leading and oncoming cars, and turns off selected LEDs to avoid dazzling other drivers. When driving at speeds below 40km/h, the wide-range Low Beam expands distribution of light to increase the driver’s visibility. Highway mode functions at speeds over 95km/h, increasing the distance the low beam can illuminate the road behind a leading car by controlling the axis of light.

The Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) detects line markings on the road surface and warns the driver of unintentional lane departures. This system is particularly effective in situations where the road is continuously straight and drivers have a tendency to not pay sufficient attention to the road. When the lane change is accompanied by turn signal operation or acceleration, the system recognises the manoeuvre as intentional and does not sound an alarm.

The Smart City Brake Support system (SCBS) is a safety feature that helps prevent or lessen low speed impacts. The system monitors the vehicle in front to assess the possibility of a collision at forward speeds of 4-80km/h. In an event that the system detects a high risk of impact, it issues visual and audible warnings and primes the brakes for a faster response should the driver brake.

Driver Attention Alert (DAA) DAA is designed to reduce accidents caused by inattentiveness due to driver fatigue. The system is activated at speeds above 65 km/h and begins to ‘learn’ the driver’s habits, watching inputs and the vehicle’s movements in the early stages before fatigue is a factor. Later, if the system detects changes in vehicle behaviour that suggests the driver may be losing concentration, it will suggest a rest stop by sounding a chime and displaying a warning in the Multi-Information display.

Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) The Blind Spot Monitoring gives off an audible alert in the event that a vehicle is detected in the vehicle’s blind spot. It assists the driver by scanning the external mirrors’ blind spots. The radar is able to detect any unseen vehicles and through an LED icon alert the driver to help avoid making a hazardous lane change. The Mazda CX-3 boasts the innovative SKYACTIV which creates a sense of connectivity between car and driver. Photo QUICKPIC

Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

The Study of Islam at UJ Conference Report

SA well represented at gathering of religion and sacred texts scholars NADEEM MOHAMED

THE latter part of November 2016 saw an estimated 10 000 scholars of Religion and Sacred Texts converging on San Antonio, in the United States, a few days after the election of Donald Trump as president of the country. Amidst a general mood of gloom and ill-foreboding, the Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion, The Society of Biblical Literature and the International Qur’anic Studies Association took place from November 18 to 21, 2016. This is the largest gathering of Religion and Sacred Texts scholars from around the world and, collectively, there are approximately 400 panels, lectures or programmes to choose from over the four-day period. One could say that the participants are spoilt for choice but the reality is that most participants feel frustrated that they have to choose between different great panels all the time. There are lectures and formal panels where papers are presented on a wide variety of topics on different approaches to different tendencies in different religions and sects in different parts of the world over different time periods – from early antiquity to contemporary times – and lots more besides. For many though, it is also the opportunity to connect with colleagues who work in one’s field, to listen to authors whose works we have only read, and to visit the

For many though, it is also the opportunity to connect with colleagues who work in one’s field, to listen to authors whose works we have only read, and to visit the more than 300 book exhibitions to stock up on heavily discounted books – even if you have not completed all of the previous pile that you purchased the year before. more than 300 book exhibitions to stock up on heavily discounted books – even if you have not completed all of the previous pile that you purchased the year before. Here you have the opportunity to see your heroes and your nemeses in live action or zooming past you on the escalators. Slavoj Zizek, Cornel West, Ebrahim Moosa, Kecia Ali, John Esposito, Yasir Qadi, Sherman Jackson, Jonathan Brown and a host of others. (The ‘nemesis’ is a reference to the author. One scholar glanced at my name tag and was struck with horror. I asked someone who she was and was told that she had read three of my books and hated three thirds of them!) As usual, South African or South African-based academics were well represented – both from the more senior to the younger scholars. Ashraf Kunnummal, a PhD student from University of Johannesburg presented two papers which shattered some of the commonly held views about the value

of the late Asghar Ali Engineer’s work as a liberation theologian and Malala Yusufzai as just a ‘wonderful activist’. In different papers he argued that there was much more to them than meets the eye. Following in the footsteps of Ashwin Desai and Ghoolam Vahed who recently wrote a book that exposed the dark side of Mohandas Gandhi’s racism, Kunnummal suggested that both Engineer and Malala either play the role of or function as sell-outs to a larger imperialist project that regards the only worthy Islam as a dead Islam silent on questions of injustice. Dr Fatima Seedat from University of Cape Town delivered a presentation titled ‘Islam, Feminism and Islamic Feminism – Between Inadequacy and Invisibility’. The panel where her paper was presented dealt with ‘Theoretical and Discursive Issues in the Study of Gender, Feminism and Islam’ and was chaired by Professor Sa’diyyah Shaikh.

Shaikh, who is Head of Religion Studies at University of Cape Town and currently a Visiting Professor at University of Berlin, in Germany, presented a paper in another session on the subject of Sufism and Gender – Towards a Hermeneutics of Gender. Professor Ebrahim Moosa, from University of Notre Dame, and now a United States citizen, spoke on several panels including one dealing with Isis and on a book that is arguably the most important one on Contemporary Islam written in the last decade: Shahab Ahmed’s (d.2016) What is Islam. Moosa, who has emerged as one of the most eminent US scholars on religion in general also chaired sessions and presented on the history of religions. Professor Farid Esack, chaired a number of sessions on Tafsir and Quranic Hermeneutics. His big moment, however, was delivering the Presidential Address at the International Qur’anic Studies Association, followed by a reception.

His address was titled “‘These are my Daughters’ The Prophet Lot and His Offer – A Lover/ Scholar Reflects on one of the Qur’an’s More Awkward Moments”. This was a reference to the Quranic text wherein Prophet Lot offered his two daughters to a crowd of violent, would-besodomists/ rapists bent on assaulting his guests who later turned out to be angels sent by God to destroy the village of Sodom. Esack’s presentation considered Prophet Lot’s story, with particular reference to the offer of his daughters, through the lenses of someone who grapples with the Quran as both a scholar and lover of the text. These twin lenses are embedded in a multiplicity of identities and discourses and caught between a simultaneous refusal to ignore the contemporary ethical challenges that a linguistic and historical reading of the text presents, on the one hand, and an abiding love for the text on the other.


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Muslim Views . January 2017


Waiting at the gates of Jannah

I thought that their Hajj was as perfect as humanly imaginable and that they were as sin-free as a new-born child. Spiritually, they were at the gates of Jannah when their Hajj was surely accepted, writes DR SALIM PARKER. HERE are two events in my life which happened exactly as I anticipated,’ he told me. ‘The first was my Hajj and it feels that I had a premonition about how I would experience it. I anticipated the tents on Mina, the amazement of being on Arafah and the unbelievable crowd that were all there reaching out to their Creator.’ I fondly recall him and his very bubbly wife during that particular Hajj. Their infectious enthusiasm lifted the spirits of many and their unbridled joy for being on Hajj was screened back to South Africa during interviews. I thought that their Hajj was as perfect as humanly imaginable and that they were as sin-free as a new-born child. Spiritually, they were at the gates of Jannah when their Hajj was surely accepted. ‘The second event was the birth of my daughter,’ he continued. ‘Her birth, her time with us as her parents and her passing away a mere fifteen minutes later was as if I knew how the sequence of events was going to happen. Insha Allah, she’ll wait for us at the gates of Jannah.’ The Friday before Hajj commenced that year, I went to the Haram as it was the only Jumuah I would be able to perform there. He stayed with the rest of the group in Azizyah, a suburb very close to Mina, where all pilgrims converge on the first day of Hajj. He suffered a severe asthma attack and by the time I returned from the Haram he was struggling to breathe. There was plenty of life-sustaining oxygen all around him but he was unable to get it into his lungs and exhale the suffocating, stale air. There was a lot that we could do and, after a while but what surely felt like an eternity to


him, his pale-bluish skin colour returned to normal and his breathing became deeper and more relaxed. The episode worried him and he expressed his fears about the days ahead. ‘Am I going to be fine for the days of Hajj, Doc?’ he asked with a measure of concern. ‘I’ll make sure that you get to Arafah even if I have to carry you along the way!’ I laughed, noting his very stout and heavy frame. We, doctors, put him on high doses of steroids and he literally performed his Hajj on steroids, exuding boundless energy, enthusiasm and deep appreciation for the fact that he could stand on the plain of Arafah with his wife. The two of them had planned their Hajj but he worried that illness might scupper those plans. We all know that Allah is the ultimate planner, and their Hajj, in his words, was exactly as he had envisaged. I was in frequent contact with them upon our return to South Africa and made a point of visiting them whenever I was in their town. I looked forward to the meals that we would share, the memories that we shared and, especially, the company that we kept on creating. When their first child was born, their happiness knew no bounds and my visits extended to beyond mere Hajj memories. About a year later, they informed me that she was expecting their second child and, initially, the pregnancy proceeded normally. However, later, the scans started revealing some concerns. There were some slightly abnormal readings which necessitated further tests and more frequent follow-ups. They consulted specialists and it soon became evident that their baby was having problems and that there were problems with the

Some people, like the family in the photograph, are blessed to have their child with them on Arafah. Others, like the family in the story, know that their child is waiting for them at the gates of Jannah. Photo SALIM PARKER

development of the baby’s lungs. The mother was nourishing her baby with oxygen-rich blood in her womb but as soon as their child was born, the baby would have to breathe on her own. With little or no lung capacity, survival would be virtually impossible without surgical intervention. They consulted widely and spoke to medical specialists, religious scholars and close friends. All the time, she knew that she was carrying her child in her womb, spending days, weeks and finally months cocooning, protecting, nourishing and loving her baby. The medical fraternity could not advise more than just to wait and see what happens. Hajj was approaching and I mentioned to the husband that I would soon be joining the millions that had been blessed with an invitation from our Creator. ‘I want to go on Hajj again; I need to go,’ he told me. We both knew that it would be difficult to get a visa as he had been on Hajj a few years previously but this did not deter him. He approached the embassy but it was soon evident that his pleas were futile. I went.

They were in my prayers when I made my tawaafs, when I stood on Arafah and whenever I made duah. Upon my return, they kept me informed about the development of her pregnancy. Their baby was growing very slowly in the womb and other developmental issues were noted. A week before she was due to give birth, her husband called me to inform me of more worrying news. Tests had by now revealed that their baby had a chromosomal abnormality that was incompatible with life. Their baby was growing and developing, albeit slowly, while in the womb but would not be able to survive in the demanding outside world that required breathing, sucking and crying. In his own words, he knew exactly what to expect. Even though everything proceeded as predicted, a human being can never, ever, be ready to bring a child into this world knowing that very soon after that they would have to let go of their beloved baby. She gave birth to an absolutely normal looking child. Their

daughter, they told me, resembled her father. She still fully stretched out her arm after coming into this world. He immediately recited the adhaan in her one ear and the iqama in the other. He was extremely nervous but accomplished what he had set out to do. They named their daughter after one of our prophets’ mothers. Both parents realised that their daughter was getting progressively weaker and weaker. There was nothing even our advanced medical science could do. Their daughter was born sin free, just as we all hope to be after standing on Arafah. Allah had blessed them with precious time together. They told me that they had gone into the labour ward as two people and had returned as three after the birth of their first child. Now, they had gone in as three as their son had accompanied them, and still returned as only three. He had held his daughter as she was giving her last few gasps. Then she was not there with them anymore. She was waiting somewhere else. Waiting for them at the gates of Jannah. Muslim Views


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Muslim Views . January 2017

Muslim Views . January 2017


Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

Health File

Both patients and families are affected by stroke SHABNIM PARKER

STROKE, otherwise known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is probably one of the most dreaded incidents by young and old. Family history and poor lifestyle practices are amongst the most common precursors. Whatever the fears and reservations are around suffering a stroke, realistically, the degree of deficit, or the severity of the stroke, cannot be predicted. The spectrum of severity is broad and can range from mild to severe, with some ending in death. With a mild stroke (more formally referred to as a transient ischaemic attack), the patient generally shows quick recovery of function. Google definitions of stroke may typically indicate the interruption of blood supply to the brain. While this may be the crux, the clinical presentation varies and, while similar components may be affected, the outcome of the rehabilitation programme may differ significantly. The most evident features of a stroke may include upper and/ or lower limb dysfunction, possible speech deficit and facial paralysis. More subtle deficits may include mood changes, possible cognitive deficit and perceptual difficulties. What happens when a person suffers a stroke? Realistically, the entire support system is affected. Maintaining the dignity and life roles of the patient are often the most challenging. While ‘physically’ the

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The most evident features of a stroke may include upper and/or lower limb dysfunction, possible speech deficit and facial paralysis. More subtle deficits may include mood changes, possible cognitive deficit and perceptual difficulties patient may only present with a dysfunctional arm or leg or drooping face, the functional impact on the patient is often greater. The main spheres of function affected are predominantly selfcare, work and leisure. Rehabilitation focuses on the patient regaining meaningful participation in daily living activity. Maintaining quality of life is the ultimate goal of rehabilitation. Walking is not necessarily the key indicator of progress yet, so often, the primary focus for families and patients alike is the desire to walk again. An independent wheelchair user can often enjoy a much better quality of life than patients who invest all their energy in the art of crutch walking without a free hand to engage in

activity. This is often difficult for the family to accept and patients are then labelled as lazy or unwilling to rehabilitate. With all of this in mind, what are the basics that families could expect and need to consider when a loved one is affected by stroke? The important thing to remember is that no two individuals, even with similar clinical pictures, will recover in the same manner. Do not compare. The cause of stroke may be the same but the areas of the brain affected may differ vastly. The pre-morbid personality of the patient also influences the recovery, level of motivation and emotional insight the patient has into his/ her condition. Typical cognitive fallout may include difficulty with memory,

attention span, organisational and processing ability and general social skills. This may significantly alter the prognosis and the outcome of rehabilitation. Perceptual difficulty may affect something as simple as being able to put on your clothes the right way around, brushing your hair in a mirror or simply planning a task. Where speech is affected, receptive and/ or expressive abilities may be challenging. Patients with speech difficulty often show higher frustration levels. Families need to apply the relevant handling principles to address this deficit and frustration. Seek guidance from your therapist in order to limit undue frustrations with the patient. Stroke management is a challenge. Key areas to seek advice on include safety precautions, community re-integration, physical management, use and management of a wheelchair (where applicable), communication techniques (where applicable) and feeding difficulties. The key is to maintain the dignity of the patient. Remember that a mother who suffered a stroke is still a mother; she should be allowed to maintain her life role. While families often think they merely need a physically strong caregiver, management of stroke is much more intricate. Personalising the care of each stroke patient is really the key. How do we identify a patient for rehabilitation? Essentially, every patient

Walking is not necessarily the key indicator of progress yet, so often, the primary focus for families and patients alike is the desire to walk again. An independent wheelchair user can often enjoy a much better quality of life than patients who invest all their energy in the art of crutch walking without a free hand to engage in activity should be screened. Typically, once medically stable, the therapeutic team manages the rehabilitation process. It is important to enquire about available rehabilitation services. These services are commonly linked to tertiary institutions. Out-patient services are available at most community health centres. Shabnim Parker [B.Sc (OT) UWC; MscMedSc(Rehab)US] is an occupational therapist employed at 2 Military Hospital, Cape Town.

Muslim Views . January 2017


Be aware of the signs of skin cancer DR YOLANDI LOOTS

JANUARY is skin cancer awareness month. We all love a day on the beach or a braai around the swimming pool, soaking up the wonderful warmth of the African sun. South Africa is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world due to its beautiful, sunny beaches and warm summer weather but increased sun exposure, unfortunately, is the main risk factor for the development of skin cancer if the necessary precautions are not taken. South Africa, with other countries like Australia and New Zealand, have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world due to our high ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. Sadly, we, in South Africa, are not as vigilant in taking precautions and protecting ourselves from sun damage as our rugby loving counterparts in Australia. Studies have shown that applying sunscreen, daily, will dramatically reduce a person’s risk to developing skin cancer, including the most feared type of skin cancer, melanoma.

How does sunscreen work? There are two main mechanisms by which sunscreen agents exert their positive effects: l scattering and reflection of UV rays; zinc oxide-containing products are well known for this l absorbing UV energy by chemical agents A sunscreen protective factor (SPF) of ≥ 30 is recommended since these products not only pro-

Squamous cell carcinoma develops due to DNA damage to the squamous epithelial cell. This damage may be environmental e.g. UV exposure, exposure to agents like arsenic or exposure to certain viruses like HIV and human papilloma virus

Dr Yolandi Loots.


tect against UV-B but also harmful UV-A radiation. Sunscreen is not the only solution to protect us from harmful UV rays, wearing protective clothing, such as hats and sunglasses, and covering sun exposed areas are of great benefit.

What type of skin cancers are there? The three most well-known skin cancers are: l squamous cell carcinoma l basal cell carcinoma and l melanoma Basal and squamous cell carcinoma represent the most common cancers in humans, and has shown a three to eight per cent increase worldwide since 1960. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) arises from the epidermis and consists of nests of atypical

squamous epithelial cells intermixed with normal squamous cells. Squamous cell carcinoma develops due to DNA damage to the squamous epithelial cell. This damage may be environmental e.g. UV exposure, exposure to agents like arsenic or exposure to certain viruses like HIV and human papilloma virus. SCC occurs overwhelmingly on sun exposed surfaces, with approximately seventy per cent found on the head and neck, and fifteen per cent on the arms. A small percentage of lesions can also be found on non-sun exposed areas, like the buttocks or thighs. SCC usually invades the deeper structures of the skin and can also spread to lymph nodes, draining the area where the cancer originated. Therefore, treatment of these cancers usually entails surgically removing the cancer and also, if needed, removing related lymph nodes if these are also diseased. Radiotherapy may also be indicated in the treatment of this type of skin cancer. SCC usually does not spread to other organs. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is four times more common than

SCC and is the most commonly occurring cancer in humans. It is most common in fair-skinned individuals who tan poorly but burn easily. These cancers are found on the head and neck. It has a locally destructive growing pattern with ulceration in the centre of the lesion but the cancer does not spread to other organs or draining lymph nodes. This locally destructive growth pattern has earned it the name of ‘rodent ulcers’. Treatment consists of surgically removing the cancer as well as covering the defect. Melanoma is the most feared type of skin cancer since this type of cancer not only spreads to draining lymph nodes but also to other organs like the lungs, brain and liver if it is not picked up and treated. These cancers originate from melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Genetics plays a major role in the development of these cancers, as do UV exposure. Treatment consists of surgery to the lesion, the draining lymph nodes and, where possible, biological treatment options.

Not all skin lesions are cancerous; when should you have a lesion checked out? The ABCDE checklist has been introduced to assist in early recognition of skin cancer. Any skin lesion that exhibits any of these features may warrant further investigation. A Asymmetry – where the lesion has an irregular shape; B Irregular borders – if the border of the lesion is not smooth; C Colour variegation – where the colour of the lesion varies; D Diameter or more than 6 mm; E Evolving lesion – any lesion changing in size, shape, shades of colour, surface features or symptoms. The majority of skin lesions excised are usually non-cancerous or benign. The only definitive way to differentiate between a cancerous and a non-cancerous growth is to remove a piece of it – referred to as a biopsy – and have it evaluated histologically by a pathologist. Both SCC and BCC have excellent survival rates and when melanoma is picked up early enough, patients have equally good outcomes. Let’s all enjoy the sunshine in our beautiful country this year with adequate protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation. The early detection of skin cancer can save a loved one’s life. Skin cancer detection and prevention should be a priority to all of us. Dr Yolandi Loots [MBChB (UFS), MMed (Surgery)(Stell), FCS(SA)] is a general surgeon at Melomed Tokai; telephone (021) 712 5414.



MELOMED TOKAI Cnr Main & Keysers Road, Tokai Tel: 021 764 7000

MELOMED GATESVILLE Clinic Road, Gatesville Tel: 021 637 8100

Left: Dr. R. Abrahams, Dr. A. Ismail

MELOMED BELLVILLE Cnr’s Voortrekker & AJ West Streets, Bellville Tel: 021 948 131

MELOMED MITCHELL’S PLAIN Symphony Walk, Town Centre, Mitchell’s Plain Tel: 021 392 3126

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Muslim Views . January 2017


Muslim Hands stationery distribution Children outside the Muslim Hands office, in Rylands, with their stationery packs provided by Muslim Photo YASEEN GAMIET Hands.


MUSLIM Hands South Africa has committed itself to providing stationery for needy pupils and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Annually, a concerted effort is made to source stationery from local suppliers for needy individuals as well as schools mainly situated in previously disadvantaged and destitute areas across South Africa, including Cape Town, Eastern Cape and reaching all the way to KwaZulu-Natal. The cost per learner to acquire adequate stationery could amount to about R500. Muslim Hands takes the time and effort to process the many applications, and selects those most in need, based on their financial situation and other criteria. Many applications are received from families struggling to see to their basic needs, such as food and clothing, and cannot afford to buy stationery. Children from various schools and areas have benefitted from our stationery drive. Mount View High School, Belgravia High School, Oaklands High School, Newfields Primary School, all in Cape Town, and reaching as far as Port Elizabeth, with schools such as Northern Lights School for children with special needs, have been beneficiaries of this

Northern Lights School for children with special needs, in Port Elizabeth, with Photo YASEEN GAMIET stationery packs provided by Muslim Hands.

amazing initiative. School children and students are seen to become more confident when they are well equipped with school supplies, and are much more confident about their schoolwork, which contributes positively to their personal development and growth. The stationery packs consist of necessary school equipment, such as books, pens, pencils and scissors. Uniform packs consist of clothing items such as white school shirts, grey pants and school socks. Muslim Hands volunteers and staff members set up distribution stations outside the Muslim Hands offices and applicants were seen standing in line as from 8 a.m. With the help of the community and businesses such

as Makro, VOC and Park Avenue Stationers joining Muslim Hands with our annual stationery drive, we are set to see another successful year, Insha Allah. The joy of seeing the children’s smiles on the day of distribution is the motivation behind this project. Being able to be a part of the annual Muslim Hands stationery drive is very fulfilling as we empower the youth and assist in shaping the leaders of tomorrow. Every donation given by the community helps to make a difference in the lives of so many. Providing education is sadaqatul jariya so donate today and help us to empower and keep

children motivated. You can assist with this great project by giving us a call on 021 633 6413 or stopping by at

our offices at 1 Carnie Road, Rylands, Cape Town, or visiting our website at

Uniforms packed and ready for distribution. Photo YASEEN GAMIET

Built for the Streets Cons Skidgrip Sneaker

Available at Converse Menlyn, Converse Mall of Africa, Converse Sandton, Converse Gateway and Selected Retailers.

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Muslim Views . January 2017


Time for change: six reasons to switch to Islamic banking BASHEER MOOSAGIE

AS we enter the new year, I would like to start by reminding readers of the importance of making the switch from a conventional account to a shariah approved account. This article also marks the end of the first phase of our series of articles on Islamic finance. Although labelled Islamic finance, products are available to all, regardless of faith. According to Absa, only two per cent of South Africa’s population is Muslim but the demand is coming from non-Muslims. Unfortunately, not all Muslims are fully satisfied by the character and performance of the existing Islamic financial institutions. Barring the small minority who sees no need for them, most express dissatisfaction either on the ground that they are not Islamic enough or because they are inefficient compared to their conventional counterparts. But all agree that these deficiencies could be remedied over time and there is nothing to justify aborting the experiment. There is a widespread fear that the dominant interests in the field of finance would soon gang up to kill the initiative of Islamic finance. Nothing of that sort has happened yet, and does not

Therefore, below are six reasons that I feel are important when faced with a decision of this magnitude.

It assists in financial inclusion The conventional banking system is based on paying interest at a pre-determined rate on deposits of money. As both payment and receipt of interest are prohibited by shariah law, Muslims generally abstain from banking. Through Islamic banking, financial inclusion can be promoted and a larger pool of savings can be brought into the economy.

appear to be on the cards. On the contrary, large vested interests in the continuation of the Islamic financial movement have appeared, involving conventional money managers.

Encouraging stability in investments

Shariah principles forbid any investment that would support industries or activities that are considered harmful to the people and the society in general. This includes interest, speculation and gambling, irrespective of whether these are legal or not in a given territory.

In Islamic finance, investments are approached with a slower, insightful decision-making process when compared to conventional finance. Companies whose financial practices and operations are too risky are usually kept away by Islamic financing companies. By performing intensive audits and analyses, Islamic finance promotes the reduction of risk and creates the space for greater investment stability.

It promotes the principle of financial justice

Accelerating economic development

Financial justice is a basic requirement for the functioning of Islamic finance products. Western or conventional financing looks forward to profit

Islamic finance companies certainly have profit creation and growth as their objectives for which they choose to invest in businesses based on their poten-

Reducing the impact of harmful products and practices

Basheer Moosagie is a business development analyst. He obtained his MBA from University of Stellenbosch Business School where he focused his studies around Islamic finance. Photo SUPPLIED

through interest payments and makes the beneficiary completely liable for any risk. Contrary to this, Islamic financing paves the way for the sharing of net profit/ loss and the risk involved in a proportional manner between the lender and the beneficiary. Therefore, if a financier is expecting a claim on profits of a project, it is necessary that he/ she should also carry a proportional share of the loss of that project.

tial for growth and success. Thus, in the Islamic banking industry, each bank will invest in promising business ventures and attempt to out-perform its competitors in order to attract more funds from its depositors. This will eventually result in a high return on investments both for the bank and the depositors. This is unlikely in a conventional bank, where depositors redeem returns on their deposits based on a pre-determined interest rate.

Fixed repayments There are certain benefits to the customer over conventional loans. The amount to be paid by the customer is fixed for the entire period at the beginning of the term so does not increase even if the financing term is subsequently increased. There are no late payment charges and no compounding of profit. Because of the way the financing is structured, the customer agrees to make payments throughout the full period. I have used this column to describe the field of Islamic finance from a theoretical perspective. This article concludes the theoretical aspects of Islamic finance. Readers can now look forward to the next phase of this column where I will focus on actual products in the market.

Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

Ulama training focuses on Muslim minorities in a secular society RIDHWAANA BARADIEN

INTERNATIONAL Peace College South Africa (Ipsa) held a two-day intensive training programme for ulama and interested members of the legal, social and academic communities, dealing with current pressing problems of the functionality of Islamic law in the Islamic world, generally, and in Muslim minority communities, specifically. The course was part of Ipsa’s extramural learning programmes project. Ipsa invited two distinguished Muslim scholars in fundamental disciplines of Islamic law, Professor Muhammad Khalid Masud and Professor Jasser Auda, to conduct the training programme. Professor Masud is a specialist in shariah as expressed in regulatory decisions or policy of government and on the works of Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi, the well-known Islamic jurist. Professor Auda is an internationally recognised and acclaimed specialist in Maqasid al-Shariah (the purpose and goals of the shariah). He is also a member of the European Fatwa Council, which focuses on issues facing Muslim minority communities in a secular, non-Muslim state. Professors Masud and Auda emphasised that there is a clear distinction between the actual shariah texts – the Quran and the Sunnah – on the one hand, and the ijtihad made in solving issues and problems which arose after the demise of the Prophet (SAW) in which there was no direct shariah text or which had to be contextualised due to changing circumstances.

Professor Jasser Auda (right) addresses participants on day one of the 2016 Ulama Training Programme organised by Ipsa, while Professor Khalid Masud observes. Photo SUPPLIED

Shariah texts can never be changed while ijtihad, partly based on fiqh, involves human intervention and, irrespective of standing, humans are fallible beings. Only Allah is infallible and prophets are infallible in conveying Revelation. Ijtihad-based, divergent fiqh rulings are clear evidence of human intervention in formulating required commandments. These fuqaha had a direct influence on government and lawmaking. In the later Abbasid era, the sultans usurped the power of the weak khilafah, creating a conflict in government and governing. The fuqaha of the day issued a fatwa based on siyasah shariah and maslahah (public interest) that directives issued by these sul-

tans had to be obeyed and had the force of law. Most Muslim states’ constitutions have granted citizenship to all their citizens irrespective of denomination. The issue of dhimmis (protected People of the Book) does not feature anymore. Jurists also differ in their definition and scope of siyasah shariah. One of the senior Hanbali fuqaha opines that it is ‘policy bringing people closer to Allah (God Almighty) and preventing them from committing evil and sin’. The Hanbali of Ahl al-Sunnah as a madhhab (jurisprudence sect) opine that any just ruling is itself a shari ruling even if it is not derived from a shari text. Actions by the senior sahabah after the demise of the Prophet (SAW)

point to this. Examples of such actions include the gathering of the Quran in its various forms, in one book during Abu Bakr’s caliphate, and the rewriting of it during the caliphate of Uthman (RA). During the caliphate of Umar, there was the example of Nasr ibn Hajjaj’s head being shaved and exiling him from Madinah to avoid fitna as he was an extremely handsome man and ladies were entranced with him. These are examples of siyasah shariah based on maslahah. There is no text in the Quran or Sunnah permitting these acts. Such rulings will differ from community to community and place to place, and could go as far as differences in divorce settle-

ments due to wealth and the amount a husband possesses. In this issue, adl again features as poor husbands are not disadvantaged nor would the rich escape with meagre settlements. Modern secular law in postdivorce settlements is thus not new to Islam as a law system. The objective of the law herein is not to leave the divorcees destitute nor harm the husbands by bankrupting them. Another issue is the nafaqah (maintenance) of iddah of talaq. In the days of tribal life and Islamic institutions of welfare and support by both the state and the vast awqaf (endowment) instances founded by private citizens, a divorcee could be accommodated by her family and tribe and, if required, other institutions of assistance. These are no longer found, in most cases, nowadays, especially in Muslim minority societies and, as such, one has to resort to the maqasid shariah in this matter. Professor Auda expressed his amazement that South African Muslims are averse to the application of Muslim Personal Law in their country. It is his opinion that that is the best way to enforce the rules as many Muslim men will not voluntarily do what they have to do after divorce. Some do not even support their lawful Muslim children from their Muslim marriages. Ulama were urged to resort to the maqasid shariah in fatawa (Islamic legal dispensations) so that the actual intended aims and objectives of the Islamic law in contemporary Muslim society can be realised. This is not changing Islamic law but striving to realise its real objectives.

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Muslim Views . January 2017


Child casualties of war calendar launched AMINA WAGGIE

THE launch of the 2017 Shamsaan Calendar took place at the Palestine Museum, in Cape Town, on Sunday, December 18, 2016. Solidarity activists as well as a few community members attended the launch. This project had two main objectives: first, to help traumatised Palestinian children express themselves through art, which is a therapeutic tool, and, secondly, to inform and educate people about the Palestinian children’s struggle. The name ‘Shamsaan’ was inspired by the drawing done by a five-year-old boy, Ahmed Dawabsh, who was recovering in hospital from a firebomb attack on his home, which took the lives of both his parents and his 18month-old baby brother.

This little boy now lives in a bodysuit because his skin is so sensitive due to the burns he suffered. Dawabsh’s drawing was remarkably bright and colourful. He drew his house and coloured it in bright gold and he drew two suns in the sky. ‘Shamsaan’, the plural form of the Arabic word for ‘sun’, derives from these two suns which represented his positive outlook and hope for a brighter future. There are many activists who are able to quote statistics, know the facts and figures of what is happening but people are rarely exposed to the stories from a personal perspective. Nadia Meer, from Durban, owns a consultancy that designs culture projects. She is an activist who also coordinated the Unite

Against Corruption campaign in KZN in 2015. She has been involved with the Shamsaan calendar project that took about a year to develop. There were over 200 children who were interviewed of which 13 stories were selected for the calendar. The children were from Jerusalem and the West Bank. Another aim of this project is to humanise the children by sharing their personal stories. The calendar is a remarkable example of the resilience of children. Joan Van Niekerk, a child rights activist, spoke about the extensive impact of war on children’s rights. It interferes with their right to their family, safety, health and decent education. ‘This calendar is not just a

reflection of Nadia’s creative abilities but it’s also an attribute to the children of Palestine. It’s a tribute to their resilience to attempt to own a safe place to reside. ‘These children have to be respected for their claim to what is rightfully theirs, which is a safe world.’ Dr Anwah Nagia, chairperson of the Kaaf Human Rights Centre, and founder of the Palestine Museum, noted, ‘We believe that it is quite fortuitous that the museum should play host to an exhibition of this nature. ‘The plight and the trauma of the Palestinians have gone unnoticed by the so-called free and progressive world. ‘An exhibition that can give expression to their story and their narrative was an important vehi-

cle for us to host and to give everybody an opportunity to see the untold stories of these children as they have to navigate through their daily lives with their areas being bombed by the Zionist occupiers.’ Shaheed Essop, from Awqaf SA, said that because Awqaf is a multifaceted charity that combats injustice and promotes peace, this project was very close to their hearts and, therefore, they decided to support it. Awqaf SA contributed towards the funding of the Shamsaan Calendar project in terms of printing and also set up an endowment fund. A portion of the proceeds of the calendar will go towards this fund, which will be used for Palestinian children as well as other oppressed children.

Mahabbah Foundation’s 2017 spiritual retreat THE Mahabbah Foundation will be hosting an international spiritual retreat, which will be conducted by the internationally recognised scholar, Habib Umar bin Hafith. Habib Umar is a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and is the director and founder of the Dar al-Mustafa institute in Tarim, Yemen. Habib Umar constantly travels to convey the Prophetic message and to call people to Allah. His travels have taken him to almost all of the Arab states, East and South Africa, South East Asia and Australia, the Indian subcontinent, Western Europe and North America. The key aim of the retreat is for students to gain a proper, principled and purposeful understanding of the Prophet (SAW) and his teachings in a manner that has both relevance and applicability to the age in which

we live. This four-day programme in 2017 will consist of lessons from classical texts, keynote lectures, gatherings of dhikr, salawat and much more. The spiritual retreat will be at Masjid Nurul Latief, in Macassar, Cape Town, and will commence after Maghrib, on Thursday, February 2, and conclude after Asr, on Sunday, February 5. The retreat is open to everyone and separate female facilities will be available. To register, email; alternatively, registrations may be done at Timbuktu Bookstore, situated at Shop 4, 19 Golf Course Road, Sybrand Park. Follow the Mahabbah Foundation on Facebook and Instagram to keep updated with more details. For more information contact Hoosain on 072 310 9112.

Course in Islamic history offered at Claremont Main Road Mosque CLAREMONT Main Road Mosque is hosting a course in Islamic history, covering the period 500 CE to 1500 CE. Convened by Professor Shamil Jeppie, of the Department of Historical Studies at University of Cape Town, the course will cover the period before the rise of Islam to its rapid rise and spread through northern Africa and into parts of Asia. The course will provide a working framework to understand some of the major political and religious/ intellectual trends and the social and economic history of the period. The course, which began on January 23 and runs for eight weeks, is held at the mosque in Main Road, Claremont, Cape Town, from 8pm to 9.30pm. There is no course fee but donations are welcome. To enrol or for further details, email: or call Shariefa at 021 683 8384.


In our December edition, in the article titled ‘Al-Azhar bids farewell to a legend’, Muslim Views reported that Mr Christian ‘convinced’ the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) ‘to establish Al-Azhar High School’. This is incorrect. Al-Azhar Primary School was established in 1994 after an accord was signed between Al-Azhar University and the MJC. Mr Christian was the first principal of the high school, and was appointed in 2004. He then approached the MJC to facilitate the admission of learners who had missed a few years of high school while completing their hifdh course. We apologise for the error.

Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Enver Surty, was the keynote speaker at the South African National Zakah Fund (Sanzaf) fundraiser on November 18 at the Ghousia Manzil, in Rylands Estate, Cape Town. He is pictured here with Yasmina Francke, left, General Manager of Sanzaf, Western Cape, introducing him to learners from Lavender Hill High School. The minister said he had a personal connection with the work of Sanzaf as his brother is a founder member of the organisation, and that he has had a close association with many of the leading executive members of Sanzaf. Surty said the ‘throughput rate’ of bursary awardees from Sanzaf is among the highest in the country. This makes a significant contribution to the skills South Africa needs in its efforts to create jobs. He said that although the Department of Basic Education opens an average of one school per week, there remains ‘huge challenges’ nevertheless. He commended Sanzaf’s work in respect of Early Childhood Development, mentorship and coaching and the importance of creating access to opportunity for the poor and needy. The objective of the Mentoring Youth Pledge dinner was to raise funds for Sanzaf’s Education, Empowerment and Development Programme (SEED) with a specific focus on the mentoring needs of the child, beyond tuition in school subjects. The mentoring programme commenced five years ago, in Manenberg, Cape Town, and has now expanded to other poor townships like Lavender Hill, Mitchells Plain, Belhar and Bridgetown. The aim of the programme is to assess and address the challenges faced by learners affected by broader social problems, including drugs, domestic violence and gangterism. The mentors assist and empower learners in dealing with these challenges in order to facilitate their progress at school. While the programme initially focused on high school learners, its pioneers found that the source of the learners’ challenges is much earlier – at primary school level. Hence, the programme now focuses on primary school learners as well, commencing with grade three. The learners are also offered training in basic life skills, and are given snacks as many of them are hungry when attending mentoring classes. The programme is aimed, inter alia, at reducing the high dropout rate by Grade 12. According to Dr Shabbir Kagee, who champions the programme, the pledges for the evening’s fundraiser are estimated at R400 000. Dr Kagee also called on the readers of Muslim Views to volunteer their services to assist learners in the townships in a variety of ways, such as tuition and support in interventions designed to assist learners with social challenges. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact the Sanzaf office at 021 447 0297. Photo NAZMEH SCHROEDER

Do you recognise this mosque? The fact that it is taken at night, and from an unusual angle, may keep you guessing for a while, even if you’ve been lucky enough to visit this special site. Please turn to page 39 in this edition to read Dr M C D’Arcy’s second article about this mosque and related places in the same complex. Muslim Views



Muslim Views . January 2017

Shifting alliances: the case of Egypt At the beginning of October, Iranian and Egyptian foreign ministry officials held a meeting in Tehran to discuss the normalisation of relations between the two states, writes Emeritus Professor SULEMAN DANGOR.

ALLIANCES in the Muslim world keep changing. We will look at the shifting alliances between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and Turkey. In August 2012, President Muhammad Morsi visited Tehran, the first trip by an Egyptian president since 1979. Five months later, then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Cairo. But this fledgling détente was put on hold when the rulers of the Arab Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and, to a lesser extent, Kuwait, supported Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after he staged a military coup on July 3, 2013. They backed Sisi mainly because they regard the ascension to power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere as the most serious threat to their regimes. And so they supported Sisi financially and diplomatically and even organised a summit in Cairo with the purpose of attract-

Muslim Views

ing foreign investment. Sisi felt naturally obligated to these rulers, in particular to Saudi Arabia. However, relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia began to change following the death of King Abdullah. The new Saudi leadership under King Salman followed a different policy from that of his predecessor. For instance, he replaced members of the royal family who supported the coup in Egypt. Saudi Arabia’s request for Egypt to participate in Operation Decisive Storm, in Yemen, was spurned by Sisi for two main reasons. He was losing public support for his reliance on Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he was unwilling to engage in a proxy war with Iran which began to emerge as a major power in the region. Consequently, Egypt began to distance itself from Saudi Arabia and move closer to Iran. (Diplomatic relations between Cairo and Tehran had been frozen since the 1970s.) At the beginning of October, Iranian and Egyptian foreign ministry officials held a meeting in

Tehran to discuss the normalisation of relations between the two states. They committed themselves to focusing on cooperation in regional affairs. This added to the souring of relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. To show their displeasure, the Saudis took a decision to halt the flow of fuel to Egypt from October 1 but did not declare it publicly, hoping that their decision would get Sisi to reconsider. It did not. A week after the decision, Egypt voted in favour of a Russian-backed UN resolution that allowed the continuation of bombing over Aleppo. This further infuriated the Saudis. Thus, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco publicly declared that it had halted fuel transfers to Egypt starting from October. But Sisi was unperturbed; following an Iran-Russia-brokered deal, the Iraqi government also agreed to increase its energy supplies to Egypt. The Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek alMolla subsequently visited Tehran much to the chagrin of the Saudis. Iran has also managed to convince Egypt to side with it in its support for Assad. Egypt then voted with the Russians to block a draft UN Security Council resolution on Syria. Just recently, the Syrian intelligence chief, Ali Mamluk, visited Cairo. And there are suggestions that Egypt will send troops to bolster the Syrian regime.

Just recently, the Syrian intelligence chief, Ali Mamluk, visited Cairo. And there are suggestions that Egypt will send troops to bolster the Syrian regime Sisi has also visited Moscow. This signifies another shift in alliance – from the US to Russia. Egypt has now allowed Russia to open a military base in Cairo. Egypt has clearly broken its alliance with Saudi Arabia in favour of an alliance with Iran and Russia. Egyptian Turkish relations have also been strained. Since his close ally, former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, was ousted by Sisi in 2013, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been at loggerheads with the Egyptian administration. However, before the coup attempt, statements by members of his ruling Justice and Development Party indicated that Turkey’s attitude toward Egypt had begun to shift. The Turkish prime minister sent a message to Egypt expressing Turkey’s desire to improve relations. The Turkish foreign minister raised the possibility of restoring commercial and economic ties and suggested holding a ministerial level meeting to reach a solution that would serve the interests of both nations. But following the failure of the coup attempt, any plans to normalise relations between the two countries have been derailed by attacks on the Turkish leadership by Egyptian officials who feared that Erdogan’s victory would embolden the Muslim Brotherhood to act against their regime. As a matter of fact, the Egyptian media erupted in excitement during the coup attempt in

Turkey, prematurely declaring it successful. On July 26, the Egyptian parliament took steps toward approving a resolution to recognise the 1915 Armenian genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks. Then a member of parliament requested that Egypt grant political asylum to Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of involvement in the attempted coup. Egypt also opposed the draft resolution by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation designating the Gulen movement as a terrorist organisation. It also blocked a UN Security Council resolution condemning the attempted coup in Turkey and pledging to support the elected government. The major reason for the fallout between Egypt and Turkey is the latter’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey has provided a safe haven for dozens of exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Sisi wants Turkey to officially recognise his 2013 coup as a popular revolution. This would legitimate his crackdown on supporters of Morsi. Turkey, in turn, has laid down its own conditions for normalisation of relations, namely, for Egypt to release all political prisoners and reverse death sentences against members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Since Sisi is not likely to change his attitude toward the Muslim Brotherhood, which Turkey supports, we can assume that relations between Egypt and Turkey will not resume any time soon.

Muslim Views . January 2017


Awqaf SA cricket tournament builds bridges

(Above) Teams participating in the final line up for the SA National Anthem.


TO mark 40 years of cricket, Primrose Cricket Club partnered with the National Awqaf Foundation of South Africa (Awqaf SA) to host the inaugural youth T20 cricket tournament, which took place in Cape Town, in December. Participating cricket clubs included Solomon Mokhosana, Ottomans and Blue Bells, with the age groups of teams entered ranging from boys under-10 to under12 and 13 mixed teams. Primrose Cricket Club is one of the oldest cricket and rugby clubs in the Western Cape, with a proud legacy that dates back some 120 years. The club also supported nonracialism in sport and actively lobbied against apartheid structures.

Prominent community leaders who were attached to the Primrose fraternity include the late Imam Abdullah Haron and cricketing icons Faiek Davids and Haroon Lorgat who is the current CEO of Cricket SA. ‘Awqaf SA chose to partner with Primrose Cricket Club in marking their 40th anniversary as the event fostered a spirit of social cohesion and a spirit of community participation and development. I think we successfully achieved our goals after three days of superb cricket by our youth teams,’ Awqaf SA Deputy CEO, Mickaeel Collier, explained. Primrose Youth Coordinator, Nur Abrahams, concurred with these sentiments, adding that sport is a good vehicle as it opened up new opportunities for the youth.

Wazeer Philander, top run scorer in the tournament, receives a bat as gift from Nabiel Dien and Mickaeel Collier. Photo NAZME SCHROEDER


‘When Awqaf SA approached us with the idea to host this event, we were very excited… We are here to create opportunities for our youth to show off their skill and talent. ‘Many of the young players who participated in the cricket tournament never played before such a big crowd and this created great excitement. We hope that this positive experience will encourage the boys and girls to enjoy their cricket and to take their love for the game to a higher level.’ President of Western Province Cricket Association, Beresford Williams, applauded the organisers for a well run tournament. ‘I must thank Awqaf SA for stepping up to form this partnership with Primroses and for creating these initiatives and opportunities for our youngsters to play the game. ‘There are many challenges facing our youth in this country but with this T20 event, the organisers have managed to create a safe, fun environment for the youth to play and enjoy cricket.’ Williams added that there were many sporting clubs that have found the need to run more programmes for the youth, who are often faced with many social challenges in their communities. ‘There are many leading clubs in the Western Cape who often host youth tournaments or run specific coaching programmes…as an alternative activity for youth who are faced with daily challenges, such as drugs and gangsterism. Creating these sports hubs are very important and should not be underestimated.’ Collier explained that one of the main driving factors behind the T20 tournament was to bring different communities together to promote social cohesion. ‘At Awqaf SA, we work in various communities – from the emerging communities in the township areas to the historically disadvantaged. ‘When we embarked on this event, we said we wanted to run a programme that will integrate

Solomon Mokosana player receiving an award for player with most determination from Awqaf SA Deputy CEO Mickaeel Collier. Photo NAZME SCHROEDER

communities, which I believe we achieved with this cricket tournament. We intend to run more of these sports programmes in 2017 because we believe it is our duty and responsibility as a waqf institution to see communities living in harmony.’ Primrose under-11 player, Wazeer Philander, was the top run scorer in the tournament, with 121 runs. In another milestone, the Primrose under-11 team broke cricketing records by scoring 196 runs in the 20 overs. The event was well received by players and spectators with many taking to social media to wish their respective clubs well. One mother, Najwa Omar, was elated when her son walked off with the best batsman award in his age group. She wrote: ‘Shukran to Awqaf SA for the opportunity and for my son to display his talent.’ As a charitable endowment receiving organisation, Awqaf SA

invests endowment funds and spends only the income generated from investments to fund a variety of community development projects and programmes promoting integrated community development and self-reliance. The T20 cricket tournament was funded by Awqaf SA. ‘Awqaf SA as a community development fund is a civil society resource for the community that has accumulated funds over time. We are seeing the benefits thereof where we can fund our own activities, such as this cricket tournament. ‘This is the purpose of waqf and the institution of Awqaf that ensures we have our own sustainable community fund to support our own projects and develop the community at large,’ Collier said. For more information about Awqaf SA’s current projects, visit or email

Nabeel Dien, CEO of Western Province Cricket Association, and Awqaf SA Deputy CEO Mickaeel Collier with an award winner. Photo NAZME SCHROEDER Muslim Views


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Muslim Views . January 2017

Focus on Finance

Muslim Views . January 2017


2017: Time to get your financial house in order! HASSEN KAJIE, CA (SA), a director of NEXIA SAB&T, based in the Cape Town office, and AYSHA OSMAN, CA (SA), National Technical Manager for Nexia SAB&T, in the Centurion office, provide some suggestions for helping you stay on track to getting financially healthy this year.

IT’S that time of year again. As 2017 kicks off, you are likely considering your new year’s resolutions. Normally, the top three resolutions are: l lose weight; l get organised; l spend less, save more. While many of us make financial resolutions throughout the year, it seems many people find it easier to make a resolution list at the beginning of the year because the new year is symbolic of a fresh start. Getting rid of debt, making a budget and figuring how to save more are often financial New Year’s resolutions that individuals and families have to get financially healthy. Here are five ideas that can help you stay on track this year: 1. Do a budget cleanse: it takes 21 days to develop a habit so spend 15 minutes every day working on one line item in your family budget to see if you can save money. An easy one to take care of is to analyse your year-end credit card statements and cancel one recurring charge for a service you didn’t use in 2016. 2. Pay off at least one debt: debt is just as emotionally traumatising as the actual black and white about how it affects your

family finances. While credit cards can provide a safety net for people who need to make purchases or pay bills between paydays, they can also become your partner to procrastination and financial debt. The more you use your credit card and put off paying your bill, the longer your minimum payment will go toward interest only. Reducing your reliance on credit cards in the new year can assist you as you attempt to pay off your credit card debt and eventually free you of your credit card dependence altogether. Start with your highest interest credit card rate first and pay it off as quickly as possible. 3. Increase your savings by five per cent: if you saved R5 000 a month last year, just try to move it to R5 250. Part of the key to getting wealthy is less about rate of return and more about becoming an avid saver. If you had a financial holiday hangover, consider starting to save R1 500 a week up front now so you don’t have the

same issue in 2017. 4. Decrease your food and entertainment expenses: food is one of the biggest line items that increases in family budgets year on year. Consider going to the supermarket once a week instead of three to four times a week. You should consider taking lunch to work once or twice a week instead of going out for lunch. It’s hard to pinpoint your bad spending habits if you do not record all your purchases. Starting in January, create a detailed list of each purchase you make. After one month, take another look at the list and divide the purchases into two separate columns, one for need-based purchases and one for wants. Knowing, viewing and modifying your spending habits will help you budget your money better. 5. Start a change jar: this is a great exercise to get your whole family into saving in 2017. Get a small or large change jar and set a goal for how much you want to save as

Hassen Kajie

Aysha Osman

a family for something special; this could be a trip, a new television or a special event for the family. Get everyone in the house to focus on putting all their change in the jar every day. Through financial planning, your financial goals may be closer than you think. When the extra zeros and commas present themselves in your current and savings accounts, the next step to a promising financial year is to invest. Start your new year with a fiscal bang and get your finances in

order today. You may find yourself eliminating the need for a financial advisor while beginning to give out financial advice yourself. If you would like a specific topic featured in the upcoming issues, kindly send your suggestions to This article is intended for information purposes only and should not be considered as a legal document. Please note that while every effort is made to ensure accuracy, Nexia SAB&T does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or errors contained herein. If you are in doubt about any information in this article or require any advice on the topical matter, please do not hesitate to contact any Nexia SAB&T office nationally.

Starting in January, create a detailed list of each purchase you make. After one month, take another look at the list and divide the purchases into two separate columns, one for need-based purchases and one for wants.

Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017


On November 26, 2016, Sanzaf, in collaboration with the Western Cape Shura Council, hosted a successful 5 Pillars Quiz, in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The event was well attended and is an increasingly important part of Sanzaf’s programme of empowerment in local communities where the need is greatest.

(Above) The good attendance at the Sanzaf 5 Pillars Quiz is an indication that there is an interest in converging pure educational content (typically associated with rote learning) with methodology that employs fun and entertainment. This Photo SANZAF COMMUNICATIONS includes content that relates to the teaching and learning of the deen.

(Above) All the contestants, like Shabaan, Kheir, Khalid, Ismael and Latifa, pictured here, showed evidence of thorough preparation and hard work. This means they all emerged winners because everyone learned. The enthusiasm and dedication of the teachers played an important role in the success of the Photo SANZAF COMMUNICATION event.

(Left) Twelve madrasahs took part in the quiz. The institutions were from areas such as Philippi, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Crossroads, Kuilsriver, Mfuleni and Langa. All of the contestants who participated received a Sanzaf 5 Pillars Quiz bag filled with lovely goodies. Photo SANZAF COMMUNICATIONS

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Muslim Views . January 2017


JIAH, a fresh new face in Cape Town DILSHAD PARKER

THE lower slopes of Table Mountain and the bottom end of the Bree Street food district is becoming popular for new and trendy eateries. Having just opened on New Church Street, in the shadow of Table Mountain, JIAH is a brand new addition to the halaal culinary scene in Cape Town and, in barely a week of opening, has created a real buzz and stir with high expectations. We made a lunch booking for Sunday, 12.30pm in the first week of December past, and arrived to a surprisingly quiet restaurant. I must admit I was only too glad it was quiet. That way I could really take in the place without too much noise and distraction. We had parked at the Fire and Ice Hotel, on New Church Street, but the entrance is actually on Buitengracht Street. There are a couple of steps up from New Church that brings you around to the entrance. This is definitely not a wheelchair friendly venue, unfortunately. We were buzzed in at the gate and shown past the two outdoor, covered seating areas to the inside. The entrance is dominated by a stunning wooden door leading into a small foyer with a reception desk. The decor is smart and monochrome though perhaps a little spare. We were seated and presented with menus with a special separate menu for gourmet beverages. We opted for mocktails – Cosmo Crush for him and Spicy Mango Crush for me.

The coveted comfy seat in a relaxed yet, stylish atmosphere. Photo DILSHAD PARKER

The Cosmo turned out to be a bit of a girly drink, and my Spicy Mango, with its crushed serrano pepper was too spicy for me so we ended up swopping. I mentioned to our waitress that I found the drink way too spicy and it was burning my throat. Without further prompting and to their great credit, the waitress returned with a less spicy Spicy Mango Crush, on the house. We quickly ordered a garlic chita for the little guy before the hunger pangs kicked in and we settled down to purveying the extensive menu for our own choices. They have a fairly wide variety, from salads to pizzas, the usual from the grill and some seafood options. Zulfikar chose the prawn chaat served with roti while I took the fillet steak with a side of roasted vegetables and Tempura onions. The food took a little long to arrive and it was a good thing we had Taufeeq’s very tasty garlic

The composition of a meal adds interest to the plate.

chita to tide us over. It was big for a chita, thick base and well loaded with cheese. The place started to fill up and the manager changed the background music accordingly so that it was not overly noisy. Some establishments tend to miss this little detail.


The steak was perfectly done medium rare and the el denté veg complimented it nicely; the onion rings were crisp and tasty. The food was nicely plated and even though the steak looked small at first it was more than ample. The prawn chaat was subtle in flavour. I would have preferred a bit more kick but it was very enjoyable. The dish came with a paapar on the side. We were a little stuffed after but really wanted to try one of the desserts. Trying to choose from the array of delectable sounding dishes was no easy task. I was slightly swayed by the Red Velvet Waffle – cookies and cream ice cream covered with a nut brittle and a cream cheese glaze but chose, instead, the Chocolate Heaven – chocolate mousse, nutella and fresh cream embellished between a chocolate choux pastry topped with strawberries and roasted crunchy nuts, and asked for three spoons.

And heaven it truly was, I thought, suppressing audible groans of pleasure between mouthfuls. They have a do-ityourself waffle option as well where you can choose your flavour and toppings. The special beverage menu boasts a decadent array of gourmet milkshakes. The ones I saw them making at the bar were huge and suitably decadent looking and, at R59 a pop, I hope they are worth it. I had no space to even try. Service was friendly, efficient and, as it wasn’t too busy, unhurried and relaxed. Expect to take your time here, with spaces between your courses. Prices are on the high side but the food is worth it. Our meal in total cost R530 without the tip. It’s not a family style restaurant but it is relaxed enough to take the kids. However, I’d like to see more kiddies options on the menu. We were limited to the chita or a chicken pasta, both full portions and too much for a small child. The waitress did tell me they are working on adding some. The ambiance is smart but also casual. You can have a relaxed lunch of burgers and chips but also a romantic dinner with beautiful plating so I am quite keen to go there for a date night soon… Yes, we still do that… This review is independent and meals were paid for. Dilshad Parker is owner and author of

Gourmet mocktails from the special beverages menu. Photo DILSHAD PARKER

Muslim Views


Muslim Views

Muslim Views . January 2017

Light from the Qur’an

Muslim Views . January 2017


Contemplation on the seas and mountains IBRAHIM OKSAS and NAZEEMA AHMED

ACCORDING to Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, in his contemporary Quranic tafsir, Risale-i Nur, such contemplation yields knowledge of Allah Almighty. Furthermore, contemplation is our means of witnessing indisputable proof of tawhid and thus attaining complete certainty of imaan. Bediuzzaman asserts that we can understand from the teaching of the Quran and the instruction of the Most Noble Messenger (SAW) that just as the skies, the atmosphere and the earth testify to Allah Almighty’s unity and His necessary existence, so do the seas, rivers, streams and springs testify to them most clearly. He says that there is no creation in the seas that, through its well-ordered being, its benefits and state, does not make known its Creator. Furthermore, of the strange creatures in the sea whose sustenance is given to them out of sand and water, and the living creatures of the seas with their well-ordered beings, especially the fish, there is not one that through its creation and its duties, its being sustained and administered, nurtured and superintended, does not indicate its Creator and testify to its provider. Also, of the precious, decorated jewels in the seas, there is not one that through its attractive creation and beneficial qualities does not recognise Allah Almighty and make Him known.

This article forms part of a series focusing on our duty as people of imaan, to engage in reflection or contemplation on Allah Almighty’s creation. Just as all the sea creatures testify to Allah Almighty singly, so too insofar as they are all in the sea, bear the same stamp in their natures, are created with great ease and are found in great numbers, they together testify to His unity. Also, through the seas, which surround the globe with its land masses, being held without spilling over or dispersing or overrunning the land as the earth voyages around the sun; and creating the assorted living creatures and jewels out of sand and water, and all their sustenance and other needs being supplied in complete fashion; and through their administration, and through none of the inevitable, innumerable corpses of their dead fellows being found on the surface of the seas; they testify indirectly to Allah Almighty’s existence and His necessity. Also, just as everything in the sea point clearly to the splendid autonomy of Allah Almighty’s rule and to the magnificence of His power, which encompasses all things, so do they indicate the limitless breadth of His mercy and rule, which govern all things from the huge, orderly stars beyond the skies to the tiny fish at the bottom of the sea, which are nurtured in regular fashion. They also point to Allah Almighty’s knowledge and wisdom, which, as demonstrated by

the order, benefits, instances of wisdom, and the balance and equilibrium of all things, encompass and comprehend them. Thus, the truly wondrous situation of the seas around the earth and the exceedingly orderly administration and nurturing of their creatures demonstrate selfevidently that it is only through Allah Almighty’s power, will and administration that they are subjugated to His command in His domains; and through the ‘tongues of their beings’ they sanctify their Creator, declaring, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ Bediuzzaman further advises that it is only through the instruction of Allah’s Noble Messenger (SAW) and the teaching of the wise Quran that we can understand that just as the seas with their strange creatures recognise Allah Almighty and make Him known, so do the mountains make Him known through the services they perform. The mountains ensure that the earth is released from the effects of earthquakes and internal upheavals; they save the earth from being overrun by the seas; they purify the air of poisonous gases; they are tanks for the saving of water, and are treasuries for the minerals and metals necessary for living beings. There is not one of the stones to be found in mountains or the various sub-

stances used as remedies for illness or the varieties of metals and minerals that are essential for living beings, especially man, or the species of plants that adorn the mountains with their flowers and fruits, that through the wisdom, order and fine creation they display that does not testify to the necessary existence of an infinitely powerful, wise, compassionate and munificent Maker. Bediuzzaman says that this is especially true of substances found in the mountains, like salt, potassium oxalate, quinine, sulphate and alum, which superficially resemble each other but whose tastes are totally dissimilar; and particularly of all the varieties of plants, and the great diversity of their flowers and fruits. Moreover, through their being administered and managed as a totality, and their origins, situations, creation and art all being similar, and the ease and speed in their making, they testify to the unity (wahidiyyah) and oneness (ahadiyyah) of their Maker. Also, the creatures on the surface and inside the mountains being made everywhere on the earth at the same time in the same fashion, perfectly and without error, and their being created without confusion, despite being intermingled with all the other sorts of creatures, all point to the splendour of Allah Almighty’s rule and the immensity of His power, for which nothing is difficult. Also, the mountains being filled in orderly fashion with

trees, plants and minerals to meet the innumerable needs of all the living creatures on the earth, and even to supply remedies for many different illnesses, and gratify the creatures’ various appetites and tastes indicate the infinite breadth of Allah Almighty’s Mercy and infinite extent of His sovereignty. Their being prepared wisely, knowingly, without confusion, in orderly fashion according to need, despite being concealed in the darkness of the soil, indicate Allah Almighty’s all-embracing knowledge, which encompasses all things, and the comprehensiveness of His wisdom, which sets all things in order. Then the storing up of medicinal substances, minerals and metals points clearly to the compassionate, generous, planned processes of Allah Almighty’s rule and the subtle precautions of His grace. Bediuzzaman concludes that the lofty mountains storing up the reserves to meet the future needs of the travellers in the guest house of this world, and their being stores stocked up with all the treasures necessary for life, indicate, indeed, testify, that the Maker who is munificent and hospitable, All-Wise and compassionate, powerful and nurturing, surely possesses eternal treasuries for His never-ending bestowal in an everlasting realm, for His guests whom He clearly loves. It is in that everlasting realm that the stars will perform the function that the mountains perform in this world.

Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

From Consciousness to Contentment

Little fish in a big pond JASMINE KHAN

WE all remember the anticipation with which we approached the first day of high school. Excited to leave the ‘little kids’ behind and start interacting with the almost adults as peers, our children will arrive at high school filled with optimism and hope. Having lorded over those in lower grades because they were the ‘seniors’, little do they know they are going from being big fish in a little pond to being little fish in a big pond. In reality, they will be completely overwhelmed by this new experience. The rather unexpected feelings of anxiety, frustration and isolation will impact on your child. Graduating to a high school usually means bigger school buildings, larger student bodies, more choices and more freedom. After the close supervision employed at primary school, this can be quite an adjustment for new students. Combine this with the trend of teenagers trying to define their own identities and prove their independence, and it might be months before parents have any idea that their children are struggling with the transition to high school. Therefore, preparation and preventative action are the best

approaches to dealing with the vast array of challenges that teenagers face. With this in mind, there are a number of things parents can do to assist their teens as they prepare to face this challenge. A smooth transition will give them the opportunity to maximise the benefits of a good education and propel them toward their dreams, goals and ambitions. A very real possibility in a new environment that can amplify feelings of isolation, is getting lost. One safeguard is early exposure to the building and grounds. Be on the lookout for the orientation days which high schools hold. These days are designed to help parents and their children prepare for starting high school. Occasionally, because of pressure from their peers, your children will try to discourage you from attending orientation days. Attending is quite necessary though, as it will help you understand the demands of your child’s new educational environment. More importantly, your child will be able to explore the new environment without the pressures of a busy first day of school. Encourage walkabouts and even a map is advisable. Being familiar with the physical layout of the school will increase children’s confidence in their movements and attitude in general.

Make sure travel arrangements to and from school are organised. Being late will possibly single out children and add unnecessary pressure when they are still trying to blend in and learn how things work. Having to wait unexpectedly after school has the same effect, and can lead to feelings of desertion and low self worth. This may seem extreme but we are dealing with an adolescent mind that is prone to extreme emotion, and adults must be aware that reason can sometimes lose to fear as a determining factor. Discuss back-up travel arrangements, for example, what to do if Mom, Dad, a bus or train doesn’t arrive on schedule. A good plan always instils a degree of confidence. Help your child to develop good study habits. Provide them with somewhere private and quiet to study. Assist in working out a daily timetable that incorporates all their needs and interests. Social interactions, TV and computer time, club activities and sport should all be part of the timetable. Ultimately, they will need to manage their own studies and they can guide you in what is helpful for them. The workload in high school increases dramatically, and time management will be essential. Teenagers want to be treated more like young adults.

However, they’re not, so parent involvement is still important. As they grow older, the form of involvement needs to change. It’s important that parents let them struggle and not do homework for them; they need to make mistakes to truly learn. It is also important to praise their efforts rather than the results of achievements based on natural ability and talent. This will develop a work ethic that will empower them throughout their lives. Extracurricular activities, whether at school or in the community, are also very important to students’ success. Parents should let their children choose activities themselves, as long as the parents are involved. Despite the best efforts of parents, many new high school entrants will struggle. It is important that parents are ever vigilant, aware of the dangers associated with this time in their children’s lives. Listen to their experiences and expectations. Don’t dwell on your own experiences of school or create expectations based on your own goals. Ensure that they know you support them and are willing to listen to them. This will open the lines of communication, which is vital. Indicators that the transition to high school isn’t going well include students complaining of headaches, stomach aches, sleep-

lessness or simply not wanting to go to school. Talk to their teachers and peers if possible, if these occur. Remember, sending your child to school does not end your responsibility; true and effective education is based on a triad: parent, learner and educator. High school is a challenging time in the lives of most teenagers. This challenge, as with most others, is better met with preparation, knowledge and support. We can achieve so much more together, and while getting a teenager to accept help is not always easy, it is possible with focus and commitment. While your child may not immediately appreciate it, the results of your concern and efforts will bear fruit in the years to come; at which point they will realise the wisdom of what you did for them. Coping with high school for first-timers If your child has entered high school this year and you would like him/ her to benefit from a talk on coping with those challenges or if, as a teacher, you want your learners to attend, please call Jasmine Khan on 021 696 806/ 082 678 2517.



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Positive and Effective Parenting

Muslim Views . January 2017


When your child has to repeat a grade FOUZIA RYKLIEF

WHAT is a parent’s reaction when that dreaded phone call or letter comes asking you to attend a meeting to discuss your child. What should the parents’ reaction be when a child doesn’t proceed to the next grade? So you have had this conversation and you’ve received the report. How can you as parents deal with this, help the child come to terms with it and how can you support the child? When the educator told you that she was concerned about your child’s chances of passing that year, you may have been shocked, angry, embarrassed. What if you are a professional, like an educator or a social worker? Should you have known what was going on? You start doubting yourself. How could this happen? How do you talk to the child to help her accept this? What does the future hold for her? Will she always lag behind other children her age? I was interviewed on the Voice of the Cape about a month ago on this topic and I thought as part of my research I would speak to an ex-colleague whose son had to repeat Grade 1. Her story is a positive one. She is also a social worker. What she had to say follows below. (I changed the names to protect the family’s identity.) This topic has made Alan and me reflect a lot on our journey with Jake over the past seven years.

… he is not sorry that he had to repeat because he would have struggled in Grade 2. The other thing he remembers is that we told him that he needed more time in Grade 1 and that it was nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about When he had to repeat Grade 1, it was such a negative time in our lives that felt like it would never come to an end. It was not so much about him repeating but the negative picture that was sketched for his future academic prospects by the school and the educational psychologist who did the assessment. Jake has surprised us year after year since that time. Currently, his level of attainment in all his subjects is 70% and above. He continues to excel at music and received a merit award for his violin exam this year. We do not regret agreeing that Jake repeat Grade 1. It gave him the extra time he needed to consolidate the work and gave him a strong foundation. At the time, we felt that his teacher did not address his needs soon enough. Interestingly, Alan shared this evening that he does not believe

children should repeat grades but instead be taught at the level they are at. I believe our education system would do so much more justice to children if they were seen as individuals and not as ‘one size fits all’. I asked Jake what he remembers of that time. He first said he is not sorry that he had to repeat because he would have struggled in Grade 2. The other thing he remembers is that we told him that he needed more time in Grade 1 and that it was nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. He wanted to know why I was asking about it and I explained about the radio talk. His response was that it was a good thing to talk about. I remember him commenting [back then] that he was not going to grow up to be a man one day because he failed Grade 1. It was a heartbreaking moment for us.

He is growing up to be a gentleman and we see it every day with grateful hearts.

How to talk to the child and support him What stands out in my colleague’s contribution is the way she and her husband explained the situation to their child. This helped him to see it as a positive step that would help him. How parents explain this can make all the difference in a child’s acceptance of it. It is important to portray repeating a grade as an opportunity for achievement and increased learning. Repeating a grade does not mean that the child will always lag behind. This is evident in the case of Jake and other children I know about. Allow your child to talk about his feelings about being held back. He would need to express his disappointment and feelings

of failure. There is the loss of friends he would need to talk about. Preparation for what the next year holds is vital. The child will be faced with questions from other children, especially new ones; the transition will be easier if he is prepared. Help him think of ways to answer those questions. Be realistic in your expectations of your child. Each child is unique and cannot be compared to any other. Do not compare this child with others in the family, especially when there is an older child who is talented and very bright academically. Comparing children is never helpful to a child. It can seriously affect the child’s already fragile self-esteem. Doing this may demotivate a child and cause a child to give up. Believe that your child can be the best he/ she was meant to be. Children who are struggling can benefit from doing an activity that they like and excel at, like sports, the arts etc, which could be great self-esteem boosters and contribute to developing organisational skills, perservance, improve focus and attention, give a sense of purpose and success, and contribute to a well balanced child. Instead of resisting the issue because it is so hard to accept, enter into a partnership with the school because this will give the child the best chance of getting through the year and moving on to the next grade.



Muslim Views

Muslim Views . January 2017


Muslim Views . January 2017


Masjid Al-Aqsa, the far-off mosque (Part 2) In the second part of his article, DR M C D’ARCY sketches the history of Masjid Al-Aqsa after the passing of Caliph Abu Bakr (RA). FTER the death of the Prophet (SAW), Caliph Abu Bakr carried on with the Muslim conquests. Abu Bakr died in 634 CE. Caliph Umar’s armies routed the Byzantines at the Battle of Yarmouk, in August, 636 CE. Muslim generals Abu Ubaidah and Khalid ibn Walid then marched on Jerusalem in November. After a four-month siege, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, accepted a bloodless surrender on condition that Caliph Umar went to Jerusalem to sign the peace treaty and accept the keys to the city. Caliph Umar arrived in Jerusalem in April 637 CE and signed the treaty. ‘For the first time in 500 years of oppressive rule, Jews were once again


After about four earthquakes, Caliph Ali-Zahir completely rebuilt Masjid Al-Aqsa. A wooden dome overlaid with lead was added to the mosque, giving the dome Photo WIKIPEDIA its silver appearance.

allowed to live and worship in Jerusalem.’ (Wikipedia: Siege of Jerusalem 636-637 CE). It is recorded that Caliph Umar turned down an invitation from Patriarch Sophronius to perform Dhur prayers in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, fearing that the danger existed that some of his followers might then break the treaty of the sanctity of worshipping places and build a mosque there. Instead, Caliph Umar cleared a rubble site on the Temple Mount and prayed there. On this site rests the current Masjid of Umar/ Masjid Al-Aqsa. He stayed in Jerusalem for ten days, and then returned to Madinah. Arculf, a Gallic monk, wrote that in 679 CE, a primitive quadrangular wooden mosque with a capacity of 3 000 worshippers stood at the site of the ‘Umar

mosque’. It is probably Caliph Muawiyah I who had the mosque built. According to Muslim scholars Muir ad-Din and al-Muqaddasi, Caliph Abd al-Malik reconstructed the mosque and built the Dome of the Rock in 691 CE. His son, al-Walid, completed it. In 713 CE, parts of Masjid AlAqsa were destroyed in an earthquake. Abd al-Malik took gold from the Dome of the Rock and minted money with it to pay for Masjid Al-Aqsa’s repairs. After another earthquake damaged Masjid Al-Aqsa in 746 CE, the Abbasid caliph Abu Ja’far alMansur took gold and silver from the mosque’s gate plaques for the repairs. In 774 CE, another earthquake struck. The damage was repaired by Caliph al-Mahdi. He had the mosque rebuilt.

When Masjid Al-Aqsa was damaged by an earthquake, Caliph Abd al-Malik took gold from the golden dome of the nearby Dome of the Rock to pay for repairs to Photo WIKIPEDIA Masjid Al-Aqsa.

Written accounts by Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi record that the new mosque had ‘fifteen naves and fifteen gates’. After the earthquake of 1033 CE, the Fatimid caliph, Ali-Zahir, completely rebuilt the mosque. A dome made of wood and overlaid by lead was added to the mosque, giving the dome a silver appearance. Another catastrophe came in the form of the Christian Crusaders who had pillaged and raped their way across Europe to Jerusalem. As noted, (in Part 1) Masjid Al-Aqsa then became a palace and a stable for horses. Salahudin Ayyubi (Saladin) reconquered Jerusalem in 1187 CE. He reconstructed Masjid AlAqsa and installed a magnificent hand-wrought mimbar built by craftsman Akhtari, from Aleppo, that his predecessor Zengid Sultan Nur-al-Din had commissioned specifically for the time when Masjid Al-Aqsa would be released from the Crusader yoke. In 1969, this beautiful mimbar was torched by an ‘insane’ Australian, Michael Rohan, belonging to the Worldwide Church of God. He had hoped that it would expedite the second coming of Christ. In 2007, after a collective effort by many, including the genius Bedouin Jamil Badran, who drew the plans for an exact copy, a new ‘Akhtari’ mimbar was installed. (See my column ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in the July/ August 2014 edition of Muslim Views.)

With the struggle for freedom of Palestine from the Israeli yoke, Masjid Al-Aqsa is under constant threat of harm and destruction. The current Masjid Al-Aqsa is 83m long and 56m wide, can hold 5 000 worshippers and is of early Islamic architecture design. It has a large, silvery, lead-enamel clad dome sited in front of the mihrab, its interior painted in 14th century style. There are several minor domes. It has a facade of 14 stone arches. The interior has seven aisles of hypostyle naves plus several small halls on both sides. There are 121 stained glass windows that light the interior. There are 45 white marble columns holding up the roof. The columns lining the central aisle are short and squat; their capitals typically foliated in Corinthian style. An old man guided me to one pillar and showed me a bullet mark on one of the columns. ‘That is where one of the bullets rested when King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated, in 1951.’ Masjid Al-Aqsa is a very special place for Muslims all over the world. It has had a turbulent history. It is now threatened by Israeli excavation beneath the Temple Mount, close to its very foundations. But it has withstood physical abuse and destruction by man and nature. Masjid Al-Aqsa is indeed a living structure akin to the mythical Phoenix bird that rises from fire and ashes to fly again and again.

Masjid Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock are both situated on a hill referred to as Al-Haram al-Sharif or the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem. At the foot of the mount is the Wailing Wall (also the Western Wall), of significance to the Jewish faith. Photo WIKIPEDIA

Muslim Views


Muslim Views . January 2017

From Casablanca to Cape Town RUSHDA KLEINSMIDT

IN 1984, driven by his passion for running, 21-year-old Youssef Kanouni arrived in Cape Town. He and three friends had travelled from Casablanca, in Morocco, in search of a better life and to pursue their passion for running. Over two decades later, Youssef is a proudly South African, Woodstock resident, happily married to a fellow Central Athletics Club runner, Mushfiqah Abdulla. Although Youssef fell in love with Cape Town, this love did not blind him to the socio-economic problems of his adopted home. With a passion, second only to running, Youssef poured his efforts into a number of community programmes. As part of his commitment to combatting crime in Cape Town communities, Youssef has been a police reservist for several years. In 2015, the Moroccan-born athlete and businessman was elected as chairperson of Sector 4 of the Woodstock Community Policing Forum, and made one of his first orders of business that of establishing a neighbourhood watch and organising programmes to keep impressionable youngsters off the street. Since his arrival in South Africa, Youssef has also used his studies in sports coaching and his experience as a runner to assist the youth of local athletics clubs. He has had much success competing in local races and regularly features as one of the top five finishers in his veteran age category. One of his more notable achievements was obtaining second place in the 2015 Western Province 100km event. While this success is no doubt due to his nat-

This race is a breeze: Youssef Kanouni waves cheerfully at Mile 3 of the Chicago Photo RUSH PHOTOGRAPHY Marathon 2016.

Revving to go: A relaxed Youssef Kanouni at the Chicago 42km Marathon, run on October 9, 2016. Photo MOESHFIQAH KANOUNI

ural sporting ability, he also trains diligently, running six days out of seven. When asked what drew him to running, Youssef tells of health issues he suffered as a child in Casablanca. ‘When I was a boy, I used to get sick a lot and I had an appendix operation at a very young age. I didn’t want to get sick again and made a decision to start running from the age of 16.’ Not only does this athlete advocate a healthy lifestyle, he also encourages other runners to do their part for the community. To this end, Youssef invites all he meets to join the Boeber Runs – monthly running outings to the

numerous informal settlements in Cape Town, where runners from various athletics clubs, families and friends offer food, clothing and, where possible, medical assistance to the needy. Twice a week, during Ramadaan, Youssef and his wife, Mushfiqah, joined friends to serve cups of warm boeber to the homeless and destitute. It was on one of those runs, on a cold and rainy night, that Youssef met William, in Pine Road, Woodstock, one of the more than 400 informal settlements in the Western Cape. William, incapacitated by a spinal injury and unable to earn a living, was forced to find shelter in a squatter camp, where the Boeber Run team found him. Youssef voices his frustration with the political situation, saying, ‘As citizens and voters, we

look to politicians but they don’t look to the people on the ground in terms of sanitation, safety and security.’ As a businessman, Youssef is also acutely aware of the country’s financial crises and mentions examples such as the ‘value of the rand dropping’ and that ‘South Africa holds the world record for changing ministers of finance’. Youssef adds, ‘There are over 400 members of parliament who are responsible for the people of this country, yet there are no results.’ Boeber Runs, however, are not the only running for a cause that the Kanounis do. In October 2016, husband and wife, as part of Team Palestine, joined runners from around the world to create awareness and raise funds for medical assistance for children in the Middle East, and for the construction of a paediatric cancer department in a hospital in Gaza. On Sunday, October 9, 2016, more than 70 Team Palestine runners from over 30 countries participated in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in Illinois, USA. In the same month of the famous Chicago Marathon, Youssef returned to the land of his birth to run the Casablanca Marathon. Not only has Youssef made his family in Morocco proud but also his running friends in Cape Town. Front runners of Comrades 2016: With the picturesque shades of dawn in the background, the Comrades 2016 runners take on the gruelling uprun from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Photo SUPPLIED

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Husband, Youssef Kanouni, and wife, Moeshfiqah, proudly part of Team Palestine, sporting their Chicago Marathon medals. Photo SUPPLIED

He has even inspired a number of fellow runners to join him in 2017, in Bethlehem, for the Palestine Right to Movement Marathon. Youssef declares, ‘The Palestine Marathon is not about the time or even about being able to say ‘I ran the marathon’. The race is about showing solidarity with those who have less freedom than us, and is an expression of becoming part of a new community. In South Africa, we might ask people to sponsor us to run for a cause but, here, the race is the cause.’ Youssef approaches life like he approaches the Comrades Marathon – with respect. Even though he has successfully completed the nearly 90km ultramarathon eight times, he concurs that, true to the 2016 slogan, it will indeed humble you. As a runner makes his way over steep hills and lonely valleys, he learns about his own strength, physical and mental. He has time to ponder on all he should be grateful for, such as health, wealth and support of family and friends. Having learnt these life lessons, Youssef feels it is his and our duty to share what we have with those less fortunate. To assist Youssef in his efforts, on behalf of Team Palestine, to raise funds for the much needed Gaza paediatric cancer unit, visit

Muslim Views, January 2017  
Muslim Views, January 2017