Some of Cape Town’s leading Muslim thinkers and scholars will on Sunday engage in a dialogue on the much anticipated Cape Accord– a public statement calling for tolerance and unity in South Africa and the Muslim world. The Cape Accord embraces the spirit of the Amman Message signed in 2005 by more than 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide, which aimed to capture Islam’s core values of compassion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and freedom of religion. The Cape Accord calls on communities to unite against hate speech and discord and to promote intra-Muslim tolerance and cooperation.
The Cape Accord was conceptualized last year following a ground-breaking conference at the Masjidul Quds ‘An Ummah in Disarray’ in which speakers from a wide array of scholarship debated the current challenges facing the ummah.
Following that meeting, a group of scholars and organisations came together and formulated the Cape Accord – a document that aims to find common ground despite ideological differences. The Cape Accord is endorsed by the following organisations, among others: Madina Institute South Africa, International Peace College South Africa, Masjidul Quds in Gatesville, Claremont Main Road Mosque, Islamia College Cape Town and Jam Eyyatul Qurraa (JEQ).
Speaking to VOC on Friday, Masjidul Quds chairperson Sataar Parker urged the public to support the initiative.
“Let us embrace the values of the Cape Accord which means we can ‘agree to disagree’. But above all, we need to support steps towards unity, tolerance and reconciliation in the Muslim community.”
Parker said this was part and parcel of the Prophetic example. The tolerance that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had depicted in his time towards minorities is reflected in the following verse of Quran: “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (Quran 109: 6)
The urgency to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence in the Muslim community has been sparked by the concern that anti-Shi’a sectarianism is growing in South Africa. The follows a gruesome attack on the Imam Hussain Mosque in Verulam, outside Durban, a Shia mosque, which claimed the life of one person and injured two others. While authorities have not confirmed whether the crime was motivated by anti-Shiasm, the concern nevertheless prevails.
“The Muslim community of the Cape is a shining example of tolerance and understanding. Let us not import extremist problems from abroad. Let us show a sign of unity in the ummah of the Rasool (SAW).”
The Cape Accord will be presented to the public on Sunday 3rd June at Masjidul Quds after Thuhr. The event is open to the public. VOC