The religious leadership in Manenberg, including local imams were afforded the opportunity to provide their input as to the situation on the ground within the crime and gang ridden community, in an information gathering dialogue hosted by the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC). On Saturday the respective parties met in a bid to address community safety ahead of the festive season period. Discussion points included concerns around “immorality” within the community, overwhelming drug and alcohol abuse, as well as the safety concerns at schools and within the streets of Manenberg.
“Some of the ulema related how they have had to conduct the ghusl (ablution) of those particular people who are being innocently killed and murdered within the community,” said MJC secretary general, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie, who referenced the emotional first-hand accounts of some of the imams.
Allie said it was imperative to acknowledge the efforts of the area’s religious leadership, from all sectors of faith, towards tackling the community’s problems at a grassroots level.
“One of the alims said that when you look at the gangsters, they are a structure that is well coordinated, well organised and well oiled. If we are to address these particular matters relating to gang violence, then we need to create a similar structures,” he noted, suggesting a task-team need be established to help better coordinate the fight against such societal ills.
While Manenberg was the main focus of discussion, Allie said attention would also be directed at other gang invested communities across the Cape Flats. The MJC were hoping to assist these communities in establishing structures to address the problems that have plagued their respective areas.
Manenberg CPF chairperson, Abdul Kader Jacobs, who was amongst those in attendance stressed that the problems in the area were not all crime-based, with social ills like poverty, joblessness and poor educational facilities all forming the backbone of the communities issues.
“The entry of the MJC and other faith-based groups for us is a very positive sign, however we want to caution that it mustn’t be a once of occasion.
We would like to see almost house to house visits for specific houses that have major religious issues,” he stated.
Jacobs also suggested the MJC need direct its focus towards improving religious educational facilities at a youth-level.
“This is so that we don’t have kids leaning towards criminality, as opposed to being given a good religious foundation. That is what is lacking in the area; the fundamentals of all the faith-based groups do not exist and so kids are free to do whatever they want without proper guidance,” he added.
The dialogue will move to Hanover Park this coming weekend. VOC