South Africans must mobilize themselves to expand the relief effort in war ravaged Syria. That was the impassioned appeal by Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels on Saturday, upon his arrival at Cape Town International airport on Saturday following a week long humanitarian trip to Turkey.
Gabriels, Sheikh Irfaan Abrahams, and Adiel Fredericks were members of a large delegation of South Africans that went to Syria as part of the ‘I Need You Ramadan’ humanitarian convoy. The relief project was spearheaded by the Turkish humanitarian organisation IHH and drew volunteers from many countries.
Gabriels said the ulema from all over South Africa and Africa were honoured to be part of this journey to experience the reality of Syria humanitarian crisis. In an emotional breakdown, Gabriels said the world had turned a blind eye to severity of the plight of those who are suffering.
“On a daily basis people are being killed, on a daily basis women are being raped. On one occasion there were reports of women lining up and being stripped of all their clothes…just imagine the humiliation,” a weeping Gabriels related.
On their last day travelling around Istanbul, they met many Syrian refugees residing in the capital.
“If you go into the houses of these people and see the condition of these people, you will cry…that is how bad the conditions are that they are facing. That is why we have been carrying boxes and delivering aid to these people who are suffering as a result of the war in Syria,” said Gabriels.
Gabriels profusely thanked all those people who contributed and are still providing relief aid to the cause. He said there was a need to stand and support the people in Syria and all Muslims and human beings suffering around the globe. He added that the world has become desensitised against the real issues that are facing them.
He further urged South Africans to dedicate the month of Ramadan to the people in Syria.
“We are appealing to everybody to please give your full support, make dua and cry in the month of Ramadan to grant the people of Syria victory. It is an honour and a privilege that we have been granted the opportunity to help the people of Syria,” said Gabriels.
He said there was a campaign calling for children to donate a R20 per child to support another child in need in Syria. The delegation delivered a report back on the relief work conducted in Syria at the Darul Islam masjid in Surrey Estate on Saturday afternoon. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)