An interfaith prayer gathering is expected to take place in Athlone this Sunday, 25 August, where a “plan for united action towards safe, secure and peaceful livelihoods for working-class communities in the Cape” will be formally ushered in. The gathering, organised by SAWUSA, will be taking place at the Joseph Stone Auditorium from 3pm – 5pm and will feature several guest speakers, including Dr Allan Boesak. For those with time to spare, prior to the gathering at the auditorium there will be a processional march taking place – leaving from Athlone Stadium and ending at the Joseph Stone Auditorium.
“This is an interfaith prayer service to pray for peace in the Cape Flats,” Said Imam of the Claremont Main Road masjid, Imam Dr Rashied Omar.
“More than 2000 people have been killed since the beginning of 2019. It’s important that as conscientious Muslims we respond to this plight. If we are not moved by suffering and oppression right in our backyard, there’s something wrong with our understanding of citizenship.”
“We want to call upon all people to join us for this very important interfaith prayer service. There will be people speaking about what’s happening in their own communities as well as some hope-inspiring speeches.”
The processional march will stop to pray at significant spots in Kewtown, where gang violence, murders and killings have taken place.
“There have been three interfaith dialogues already. People came up with an action plan called the ‘Cape Flats Action Plan for Peace’ and this is an action plan that has been jointly formulated and prepared by the people who met at these interfaith dialogue meetings. It was taken to different communities for further input and it will be formally adopted at the interfaith service this Sunday,” said Imam Dr Rashied Omar.
According to a media release by the Service & Allied Workers Union of South Africa (SAWUSA), the service stems from the belief that faith leaders can be “critical players” in responding to the crisis of crime and gangsterism in the Western Cape.
“We believe faith leaders can be critical players in responding to the cries of distressed communities and in rebuilding humanity and harmony in communities ravaged by all sorts of violence and social decay,” said SAWUSA president, Wilfred Alcock.
“This initiative aims to galvanise faith leaders into greater action to respond to the war, social decay and moral degeneration on the Cape Flats. Among those who will speak at the event are Dr Allan Boesak, Imam Dr Rashied Omar, Reverend Chris Nissen and Avril Andrews from Moms for Justice Peace and Reconciliation.”