By Tauhierah Salie
The Imam Haron Foundation is calling on public participation regarding the Al-Jamiah masjid in Claremont and the burial site of late martyr Imam Abdullah Haron, to be declared a provincial heritage site.
On May 27th, the Imam Haron 50th year Commemoration Committee embarked on a 123 day campaign to pay tribite to the martyr, who had spent that 123 days in solitary confinement. The late Muslim activist was killed after being interrogated and tortured by the Apartheid Security Branch in 1969.
Co-ordinator of the Imam Haron Foundation Cassiem Khan, explained that the gathering was a platform for the public to share their views and gain clarity.
“The purpose of Saturday’s event was to invite comment for Al Jamia masjid as well as Imam Haron’s burial site to be declared a heritage site. It (was to) have an open house so anybody who has any questions, or who wants to understand what a heritage site means, or why those sites. They had an opportunity for face-to-face contact to speak to a heritage consultant that was appointed by heritage Western Cape. It was also to allow people to complete their forms where they can give their comments.”
He noted that the heritage declaration is a way of preserving history for future generations.
“The whole process of having an area declared a heritage site is for prosperity, it’s for the future. In 50 years from now, there may not be anyone who will remember anything about Imam Haron. So, when you have a heritage site, people will walk by and maybe there’s a sign up. Our history becomes recorded and it does not just remain oral. We want to make sure these things are entrenched in the national history of the country.”
Khan said there was a formal information session.
“It was a very cold wet day and the nature of these things is that it needs to be fairly long so people can come in at any particular time. The way it was organised was to have a very formal session in which the process was explained.”
“Then we had a bit of a motivational talk by the Muslim Judicial Council’s Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie. I also spoke and gave some background as to the commemoration events by the Imam Haron Foundation for this 50th year. “
Other than the participation process, there was also a chance for the public to get a glimpse of what the activist was like. Khan said the majority of the attendees were from the Claremont community.
“Then we also had an hour-long documentary called “The Imam and I” that was used by this grandson, just to give people some information and also for them to connect with people they may know on the documentary or the life of Imam Haron.”
“As you know, the Group Areas Act, in many ways, has decimated the Claremont community. Three mosques still exist, a few churches and of cause Livingston High School. The specific of the three masjids (up for discussion) is Al Jamia masjid.”
Khan added that the foundation is open to further suggestions.
“We also want to hear from people, especially the elderly who lived and worked in that community and who knew Abdullah Haron. If there are any other sites that they feel may be over-looked and that they would want included as well.”
Forms are available at Claremont Library in Wilderness Rd, Claremont. The participation closes on the 30th July 2019.
Cassiem Khan can be contacted on WhatsApp on 076 640 7928 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org