Cape Argus

How can you suggest that mosque’s call to prayer be known as noise?

- NKOSI ZWELIVELIL­E | Royal House of Mandela: MP and Member of the Pan African Parliament

MVEZO Komkhulu, we support the Zinnatul Islam Muir Street Mosque in its call for insensitiv­e noise by-laws in the City of Cape Town to be revised. We call for their scrapping as they perpetuate the privileges of a few elites for whom the symbolism of the Athaan and the constituti­onal provisions of religious freedom, honour and dignity have no meaning.

We ask the learned elders of the City of Cape Town how they can classify a call to prayer and a globally respected symbol of peace as noise. This is an insult of the highest order which only an arrogant DA-run city will perpetuate.

We must force DA mayor Dan Plato to take responsibi­lity for the belligeren­t attack on the religious symbols of our communitie­s. The Muir Street Mosque and the other mosques and churches in District Six are historic symbols of our people’s resistance against the brutal apartheid regime.

We will not allow them to silence the Athaan call to prayer or any other religious symbol such as church bells because for decades it was a powerful reminder of the resistance of a community that was displaced and ravaged by the Group Areas Act.

These symbols are powerful reminders of a time when we as a community stood as one and when Imam, sheikh, pastor, bishop, rabbi, chief and swami defiantly marched arm in arm for our liberation and freedom.

Today, 25 years into our democracy we will not countenanc­e that our hard won freedoms be taken away or compromise­d by a lone objector.

It escapes the DA-run City of Cape Town that the Athaan call to prayer has a proud history from the days of our resistance to slavery when it was called out in the Quarry on High Level Road in the first slave protest.

In the 1980s and 1990s it rang out loud on the streets of Cape Town – Allahu Akbar – God is the greatest, alongside the slogans of Amandla.

We say to the City of Cape Town, hands off our Struggle heritage and religious symbols. We shall mobilise our communitie­s across all faiths in Cape Town to ensure that our freedoms and religious symbols remain sacrosanct and respected!

We will stand with Sheikh Mogamat Moerat and the committee and community of Muir Street Mosque until the City of Cape Town respects our rights and freedoms.

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