By Rukaya Mosavel
The horror of the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand this year showed that religious intolerance and racism remains a global societal problem and a call for action is need on Islamophobia. With this in mind, the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) have reignited the call for masajid in South Africa to open their doors to people of all faiths and cultures by participating in an annual mosque open day. The mosque open day is a campaign that was started four years ago by SAMNET who wanted to great awareness about of Islam and the heritage of Islam in South Africa.
SAMNET chairperson Dr. Faisal Suliman said the initiative is aimed at building interfaith relationships between people and to challenge some distorted ideas and misconceptions about Islam.
“The aim is over the years to build us up to the point where it becomes part of the national heritage day. It becomes part of a tour campaign where people can go to a mosque, meet Muslims and find out what goes on in a mosque. It’s about education,” said Suliman.
SAMNET hopes that this year many masjids can come on board to join this initiative and raise awareness about Islam. SAMNET is confident that creating awareness and educating people through initiatives like this, people will understand and learn what Islam truly embeds.
SAMNET hopes to get the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) involved to assist in the partnership of national masjids. The main requirement is for resources such as copies of English translated Qurans and other materials that will be used during the open day.
“We will get the musallis involved and so they either bring their neighbours or invite people from work or school. We invite the local mayor or premier. This year we want to start inviting all the embassies. It’s important also to invite your local police, local principal, church leaders. This is a way to build relationships and networks in the local community,” added Suliman.
The event is hoped to be held on 24 September, coinciding with the national Heritage Day.
For those who want to contribute and support the project, visit www.samnet.co.za