For the first time in its 74 year history, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) finally has female representation on its executive level. Mualima Khadija Patel-Allie, the ameera of the MJC Women’s Forum, was elected to serve upon the MJC Executive committee during the organisation’s Annual General Meeting at the weekend. This is considered a historic decision for the Muslim community of Cape Town, which many have described as a progressive step for the ulema.
“This is a historic moment for South Africa,” said MJC President Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams in an interview on VOC Sunday Live.
“It means that all decisions will have the input of a female who works closely within the community and knows the challenges women face. I am honoured that this momentous occasion happened during my reign as president.”
Mualima Khadija is a registered psychologist and avid community activist, who has been a regular voice on VOC. She has been instrumental in the formation of the Boland Islamic Councils women’s league as well as the MJC Women’s Forum. Recently, she led a delegation of Cape Town women to Turkey, on a humanitarian mission to assist Syrian refugees on the border. The group also formed part of an international convoy of women called the Conscious Convoy, aimed at speaking out against the violence and oppression facing Syrian women and children.
Patel-Allie was elected after one of the Executive Council members resigned last month. The Executive Council of the MJC is responsible for the implementation of the decisions of the General Council as per its constitution, and meets on a weekly basis.
“She was elected because of her commitment to the community. This is a woman who has beautiful akhlaaq, who knows her deen and has great expertise. When you put all this together, she deserves this position,” continued Shaykh Abrahams, adding that it was the male members of the executive that voted for her.
Following a meeting with all the female alima in the Western Cape this week, Shaykh Abrahams implored for more women to become involved in the MJC.
“Sometimes we lose sight of women’s and other issues. So it’s important that we have someone like Mualima Khadija to guide us. And we want more women onboard to make the MJC stronger to have a greater impact on the community.”
When asked if the MJC would implement a 50-50 gender ratio within the organisation, Shaykh Abrahams replied:
“Whatever the ratio is, that’s not an issue for me. Whether its 10 or twenty women, if we see more women coming on board who have the expertise, we will move in that direction.”
However, when asked if the MJC could see a female president said it’s “not impossible”.
“Whatever Allah has decreed in the future, that is what it will be.” VOC