African National Congress (ANC) president, Jacob Zuma, is to meet with members of the ulema on Tuesday afternoon in what the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has described as a “historic” meeting. Western Cape premier, Ebrahim Rasool, is also expected to be present at the meeting. The meeting – which will be closed to the media – will take place at the MJC headquarters in Athlone, starting at 4pm and ending just before Maghrib.
“The MJC believes that it is part of our responsibility as the official organization recognized by the South African Government and the Central Religious Authority for the affairs of Muslims in the Western Cape, to engage with the ANC leadership. We are also on record to have congratulated the ANC and Mr Zuma on the results of the Polokwane elections last year. We indicated that we would be interested in meeting with him,” MJC president, Maulana Igsaan Hendricks said on Tuesday ahead of the meeting.
He said the MJC would use the meeting to reiterate the role that Muslims play in the greater South Africa as good corporate citizens and to motivate for the promulgation of the long awaited Muslim Personal Law. “We don’t think that Muslims are a special entity in this country. Instead, we think of ourselves as being part of the South African community and will continue to contribute to the growth and development of our country as we had done in the past. At the same time, with the national elections looming next year, we will use today’s meeting to ask Mr Zuma as the most senior leader in the ANC to assist with the process to give recognition to Muslim Personal Law.”
Hendricks said the MJC had for the past four years responded well to the call made by the government for the religious community to play a role in poverty eradication, one of the biggest challenges the country faces. “To that end, we used our own resources to establish such poverty eradication projects in the Western Cape and after four years, we have been very pleased by the results. We believe that it is part of our moral obligation as Muslims – not merely a charitable exercise – to assist in this regard.”
* Source: Voice of the Cape
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