From the news desk

MJC rolls out the carpet for Zuma

“Eight years ago I said to the president that I am a Zuma man and I never changed – I am still a ‘Zuma man!” This was the unequivocal statement by the newly elected Muslim Judicicial Council (MJC) president Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams, in welcoming President Jacob Zuma at a special event hosted to honour the ANC in Cape Town at the Darul Islam High School in Surrey Estate on Thursday.

As Zuma and ANC bigwigs hit the campaign trail in the Western Cape visiting townships on the Cape Flats, the MJC rolled out the red carpet for Zuma at a late afternoon lunch. The event was hosted after the president was unable to attend an MJC iftaar this Ramadan.

While proceedings got off to a late start, guests patiently waited South Africa’s leader. The event was attended by numerous prominent personalities, including; the Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane, ANC City of Cape Town mayoral candidate Xolani Sontashe, former ambassador to the US Ebrahim Rasool, Judge Siraj Desai and former ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman.

Kashif Wicomb hosted the event
Kashif Wicomb hosted the event

The proceedings which was MC’d by Kashif Wicomb, began with an opening dua that was performed by ex-president of the MJC, Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels, followed by qira’ah by renowned qari, Shaykh Ismail Londt.
In his opening address, newly inaugurated President of the MJC, Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams, welcomed the Zuma and affirmed his support for the African National Congress and its president Zuma.

He said that the historical relationship between the MJC and the ANC is a fact the organization holds in high esteem. In light of the 300 years of the banning of Islam within South Africa, the MJC president spoke of the sacrifices of predecessors who worked to ensure freedom of culture and religion within the country.

Ml AK Allie, Sh Irfaan Abrahams, President Zuma, Sh Riad Fataar and Ml Ihsaan Hendricks
Ml AK Allie, Sh Irfaan Abrahams, President Zuma, Sh Riad Fataar and Ml Ihsaan Hendricks

Abrahams further noted that the ANC’s show of support for the people of Palestine is unprecedented.

“As a people who stand with the oppressed in other parts of the world, we appreciate the definitive position that the ANC took when it invited the political head of Hamas, comrade Khaled Mashal, as its official guest in 2015. Comrade Mashal went on record and said that the South African government is one of the greatest supporters of the people of Palestine,” Abrahams stated.

Given continued conflict within the Middle East, he said that the situation in Syria needs to be addressed and described the conflict as having resulted in the “biggest refugee crises the world has seen.”
Closer to home, Abrahams, who regards himself as a community activist, called to attention the continued scourge of gang violence within the Cape Flats.

As a means to combat gang related deaths, he called for tougher action, improved access to resources and the establishment of a dedicated gang unit.

The shaykh also spoke to the level of unemployment that plagues residents and urged government to assist in revitalising the artisan trade within the Western Cape.

In light of growing tensions in the run-up to the local elections, Abrahams called for an end to racism and xenophobia that has divided many communities.

“Stability and security of our country is a responsibility of each and every South African. We call on all our citizens to identify any activities that pose a threat to our democracy and our shared freedom. ”
Reflecting on the ANC’s long fought credibility, Abrahams called for a united and stable ANC. He stated that as a ruling party, citizens require the ANC to commit to the values enshrined within the Freedom Charter.

“It should not be forgotten that there are those detractors who would like to see to the ANC disintegrate.”

He also spoke to the extensive contribution of the Muslim community to the South African economy and to their role in alleviating socio-economic ails across the country.

“Through large community development and social cohesion programmes, in the past financial year we estimate that as a collective the Muslim community has contributed in excess of R2.5 billion in social development initiatives to the people of South Africa,” he continued.

In closing, Abrahams affirmed that the MJC is working to serve all members of society, irrespective of their race or creed and requested that the government work in partnership with the MJC to build a strong civil society.

Meanwhile, President Zuma addressing guests thanked the leadership of the MJC for hosting his delegation and stated that the event symbolises the unique role that the MJC plays within the Western Cape.
In response to the MJC’s request to establish a partnership, Zuma asserted that the ANC’s policies are directed toward assisting the poor.

“We believe that no one who is made in the image of God must suffer whilst others are not suffering. I appreciate what the MJC has done for poor communities – this is what I believe we should all do,” Zuma asserted.

Pres Zuma addressing the crowd
Pres Zuma addressing the crowd

He said that the ANC firmly believes in religious tolerance and freedom, and assured that the party works toward “peace, harmony and stability.”

Given recent attacks in Europe, the president commended the MJC for their condemnation of the attacks and acknowledges that the name of the religion of Islam is recklessly used by individuals who conduct these attacks.

In light of Shaykh Abrahams support of the ANC and his describing himself as a “Zuma man”, Zuma thanked the MJC for not shying from associating with the ANC and himself.

He further noted the significance of the Mkhize clan’s official acknowledgement of Islam as one of the clan’s religions, indicating that this event speaks volumes of the role of the MJC within the South Africa.

“The fact that the king of the Zulu’s will be receiving you to recognise Islam, that speaks volumes of the role you have played in the Country and that they believe that they have to have a relationship with you. We think that if we work together then we can make South Africa great.”

He added that the ANC is working toward improving race relations within the South Africa, as well as cementing international relations, particularly in the Middle East.  Closing the event, former MJC president Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks affirmed that following the end of his term as president, he is now able to openly declare his support for the ANC.

He said that President Zuma showed unwavering support for the welcoming of Khaled Mashal and his delegation in South Africa.

“Because I was privy to the numerous attempts to bring the delegation to South Africa, it is only President Jacob Zuma who made it possible, not for the Muslims for South Africa, but he showed Muslim world,” Hendricks added.

He said that in spite of what he described as the betrayal of the Arab world, Zuma showed the world that a South African president will affirm solidarity for the people of Palestine.  As a result of Zuma’s support for Hamas, Hendricks said that it should be expected that Zuma is to experience increased criticism.

“We have not come to pray for the ANC, we have come to pronounce our support of the ANC. We commit ourselves, strategically and collectively against the retrenchment of white-colonialism.”

anc members
ANC members with former ambassador Ebrahim Rasool

Hendricks further noted that while the forefathers of South African Muslims hail from foreign lands, the Muslim community is “very much indigenised” into South Africa.

“We are not a foreign people that came as expatriates into this country. So, a Muslims we can proudly say in South Africa that president Jacob Zuma is my president,” he continued.

In his concluding remarks, Hendricks urged South African Muslims to acknowledge that their identity as South Africans is an integral aspect of their Islamic ethos. VOC


  1. How about the MJC concern themselves with finalising the issue of the un halaal meat which was declared halaal.. A matter far more important than entertaining this continuously proven corrupt politician and his band of miscreant hangers on. This is just a political ploy to win over the Western Cape… a strategical move because they know we as Muslims have a massive say in the governance of this province. Zuma is just using this as a tool with which to win the Muslim vote within the Western Cape. Why does he not do this with the Jamiaats of Durban or Johannesburg? I’ll tell you why… because they do not have un educated people running their organisations, they will see through him like the disease that he is.

  2. Dear Shaykh
    Ya Mawlana
    My Imam

    Zuma is a believer,
    Shias are unbelievers.
    Support Zuma,
    fight the Shias

    An organisation steeped in
    Mobinghis speaking
    praises to power

    A politics of
    Pray behind the pious
    Eat at the table of the corrupt.
    A 1400 year-old arc of history
    Long, bending towards injustice


  4. To those unsure about the wisdom of the MJC in hosting the ANC in Cape Town on Friday I suggest you reflect on the following: Firstly the MJC has been the spiritual voice of the Muslim community for the last 70 years, through the period of apartheid into democracy. Over this period the Muslim community has been respected and remained relevant. The MJC is not naive when it comes to politics in the new South Africa and continues to be that voice of wasatiya(the middle road) in this challenging times. The visibility, role and influence of the Muslim community in South Africa has become a model for other Muslim minorities across the world. The MJC, as the most senior Ulema body in South Africa, has played a significant role in contributing to this position we hold as a minority community. Secondly the ANC is the elected government of South Africa. Elected by the majority of people in this country. All citizens of South Africa need to respect this. Let us not fall into the trap of believing we alone can determine what is morally acceptable for our country. The ANC is the government of the day voted in by the vast majority of the people of South Africa. It is therefore very appropriate and strategic for an organisation like the MJC to host the governing party. The fact that the ANC sent the president and other senior ANC representatives gives us an indication of the way in which the ANC views the MJC and our community. Well done to all those involved in organising these events over the years and may the MJC continue in its good work it is doing in positioning the Muslim community in South Africa, InshaAllah. And let us not forget to make duah for all our leaders and our country Ameen.

  5. The MJC should not be endorsing any political party they should be neutral. To host the ruling party as brother Abbas Jamie indicated is strategically motivated but then the President from the MJC should refrain from making statements like “Eight years ago I said to the president that I am a Zuma man and I never changed – I am still a ‘Zuma man!” This was the unequivocal statement by the newly elected Muslim Judicicial Council (MJC) president Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams. Shaykh Irfaan is a representative of the MJC and such a broad statements could easily be misconstrued. It could be viewed like the MJC is lobbying the muslim vote in support of the ANC when there are muslim political parties who need the platform and together with the MJC could achieve even more for the muslim community as a whole. Shaykh need to choose his words more wisely (be more diplomatic in his approach).

  6. The MJC was politically dead during the apartheid era. They made it clear during those times that politics not to be mixed with Islam.
    Untill today have not officially recognised the contribution of the late Imam Haroun.
    How dare they represent the muslims under the banner of MJC as being ANC supporters.You're right they not naive they plain clueless.

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