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Mixed reaction to new MJC leadership

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Social media has been on fire following news that Surrey Estate imam and community activist Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams has been elected as new president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC). Maulana Igsaan Hendricks’ tenure as MJC president came to end on Saturday, after a new ‘top 5’ and executive were elected.

The electoral process was conducted by the Electoral Commission represented by Maulana Taha Karaan, Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks, Shaykh Shaheed Esau, Dr Yusry Toefy and Shaykh Fadil Abdul Latief.

The electoral process was conducted by the Electoral Commission represented by Maulana Taha Karaan, Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks, Shaykh Shaheed Esau, Dr Yusry Toefy and Shaykh Fadil Abdul Latief.

The two candidates standing for president was Shaykh Riad Fataar and Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams. Both candidates were requested to provide the electoral panel with a five minute presentation outlining their vision for the future of the MJC.

As the Muslim community waited in anticipation for the results, Capetonians took to social media to share their thoughts on the new leadership.

‘We have to support the MJC’

The news saw a flood of messages of support congratulating both the MJC and its new leadership, with others urging the community at large to remain positive about the organization’s future.

“May Allah increase shaykh in his passion and love for Islam. May Allah guide him in all his decisions; may our community witness great change under his guidance; may Allah safeguard him against all evil; and may we all walk together with Shaykh under the banner of the final Messenger, sayyidina Muhammad sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam,” wrote scholar Abduraghmaan Khan.

“We have to be positive, support our new leadership and make dua that Allah (swt) guide and protect them, Insha Allah,” said Anwar Prince.

“Mubarak to Shaykh Riad Fataar on becoming the second deputy president of the MJC. This Shaykh is a great leader in the community,” said Suleiman Davids.

But many others have questioned the validity of the election process, with some accusing the MJC of a lack of transparency.
Shaheeda Abrahams stated: “There was no transparency leading up to the elections. The MJC could not disclose who was being nominated. Anyway, I wish the new panel all the success, ameen.”

“This certainly does not come as a surprise – ‘Moenie warrie nie, ek sal die job vir jou gee’. Why not give the position of president to a younger and energetic individual who would take the MJC out of the mess that it is in. There are some top young ulama,” stated Rafiek Samuels.

Others conveyed their dismay at the outcome by questioning the leadership and managerial skills of the elected individuals.

“Too many chiefs and very little or no strong and tangible leadership,” stated Enver Essop.

As community members discovered the news of the elections, many questioned the process, citing confusion about the various positions within the organization.

“What are first deputy and second deputy?” Jamal Akhtar enquired.

Lack of female leaders

The release of an incorrect list, which included Nabeweya Malick in the MJC Exco, was met with delight by both males and females. The recalling of the list, subsequently, highlighted the exclusion of females in the ulama body’s decision making processors.

“So much for women representation!” criticised Ibtisam Allie.

“How many women are on the MJC [leadership]?” Fadlullah Wilmot asked.

In response, Omar Suleman, said: “Forget it, you will only get an ancient response to that.”

Black representation

Community activist Imraan Mukaddam highlighted the need for the representation of black African constituencies.

“I believe that the time is right for an Indigenous African candidate to be elected into the position of president of the MJC. These closed door sanitised candidates who have to be screened by an Electoral College makes a mockery of the Islamic concept of Shura. The exclusion of the majority of Muslims in the process makes any claim to legitimacy in representing Muslims a fallacy,” Mukaddam stated.

As social media commentators continue to criticize the choice of individuals elected to the various positions, certain individuals encourage community members to refrain from disrespecting the ulama body and shuyukh.

“See how a [social media] status fuels the ignorant to disrespect the Ulama. At the end of the day, that is the Ulama. They studied deen, and every day they enrich people with the principles of Islam and remind us of our paths. Ultimately, that is our purpose,” Saa-rah Adams asserted.

“May Allah Guide them to lead us with dignity, inshallah,” Nazley Sardien stated. VOC


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