The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has stepped into the dispute surrounding the Malibu Village community, in order to find a solution for local Muslim residents seeking a place of worship. This follows the demolition of a makeshift masjid structure earlier this month, by officials of the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements. The land was apparently donated by a resident, the late Rashid Osbourne. However, the Department claims that the land in question is owned by the provincial government and earmarked for housing development.
The President of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams with Maulana Bienjamien Osman of the MJC`s Department of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration met with community leaders from Malibu Village on Monday to assist in the establishment of a place for worship.
Speaking to VOC News, Abrahams said that he had met with members of the community prior, to prevent the demolition from taking place but achieved little results.
“We spoke to some residents who were concerned about the demolition and told them that we can help but we need a copy of deeds to the property. No one came back to us. Furthermore, we told residents that whoever comes to demolish the structure should present court papers entitling them to do so. We were hoping to prevent the demolition from taking place,” Abrahams explained.
However, the late Rashid Osbourne’s wife Safaa Osbourne said she’s been paying rates on the property for years and dismissed the department’s claims.
“The department never contacted me or communicated that this is the situation. For years I have been paying rates. I went to their provincial offices two or three times while my husband was sick. Now that I went to settle the account, they told me that they know they are at fault for not contacting me. They are claiming I went into hiding and sold the property. None of that is true,” Osbourne added.
As it stands, a near total of twenty churches have been established in the Malibu Village area with no masjid to accommodate the growing number of Muslims in the area. Osbourne said the community has been left devastated after the demolition as they hoped it would be a place of worship for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.
“It is a sad sight to see the community in the state that it is. We all worked together to get the structure up before Ramadaan,” Osbourne said.
Meanwhile, the MJC says it will be working closely with the community to find new property while conducting their own investigation into the matter.
“The property in question is extremely small. It can’t be more than 350 square metres. This is too small for the growing number of Muslims. The MJC has committed itself to assist the community in realising their vision for a place of worship to be established in Malibu Village,” Abrahams continued.
However, Osbourne said she will be considering legal action against the department.
The department was unavailable for comment.