A newly formed coalition of imams will meet with residents on Wednesday evening to discuss ways in which they can maintain a peace agreement with gangsters in Hanover Park in the lead up to the festive season. For the past seven days, gang leaders, most of whom are Muslim, have agreed to a ceasefire as residents begin to stand up.
Thus far, members of the coalition, along with other community organisations in the area have already managed to identify perpetrators in the area and hand them over to police. Before, residents felt fearful to give statements over to police regarding gang related incidents. But lately residents say they are tired of living in an area where some individuals continue to incite violence and will take matters into their own hands.
“If the community stand together as a unit, they become a force to be reckoned with. What we have already managed to accomplish over this seven day period, it shows we have strength in numbers,” said Maulana Tahaa Rodgrigues from Masjidul Ieglaas.
Members from four local masajid in Hanover Park and Newfields formed the Coalition of Imaams two weeks ago in an attempt to assist the community with social development and to address the scourge of gangsterism in the area. Rodrigues said residents have become desperate for change as gangsterism continues to plague the impoverished area.
“I can sadly say that these hands have washed the blood off too many innocent, young bodies in this area.”
Rodrigues attributes the current peaceful atmosphere to the unification of the coalition. The four masajid includes; Masjid Taqwa, Masjidu Rahmaan, Masjid Noor and Masjid Iglaas where executive committee members have begun mobilising the local Muslim community to address the different socio-economic challenges in the area.
“The masajid are situated in different areas within the community and therefore, we are able to reach residents in all so-called ‘gang territories’,” Rodrigues added.
While Rodrigues echoed the sentiments of other residents regarding their concerns for the lack of service delivery from the Phillipi Police station, since the coalition has been formed, he reported that the relationship between residents who have come forward and the police, has significantly improved.
The meeting will take place after Maghrib at Masjidul Ieglaas. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)