As the 2016 Local Government Election nears, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has revealed its concerns around voter apathy within the Muslim community in South Africa. While Muslim South Africans have made active contributions to the political landscape of the country and the development of local communities, MJC Spokesperson, Nabeweyah Malik told VOC that more needs to be done for the minority group to be considered a relevant block within the political arena. In light of these concerns, the ulema body has ventured on a campaign to garner support and educate the community as to the importance of casting their vote.
With an increasing number of Muslims in South Africa, Malik estimates the ever growing population will reach five million people within the next few years. However, the number of registered Muslim voters remains low.
“We are a very low number in this country and to be seen as relevant, we need the Muslim community to be more serious about voting in the upcoming municipal elections,” Malik said.
Malik urged Muslims to take a stronger footing in reminding the broader South African community of their contributions and role in the country through their advances in the fields of medicine, education, technology and many others.
“We certainly can cause an effect in this country, if we work together as a team. Almost all major, relevant organisations in South Africa, from Cape Town to Polokwane, have joined in this campaign to register in the upcoming elections. We want to encourage the community to stand in unity to impact the political arena in the country and as a result, the outcome will benefit the Muslim community and all South Africans,” she further added.
“There are a lot of commonalities between Islam and democracy; however, just to be involved in the political arena, it will allow local Muslims an opportunity to be recognised. We all have a responsibility to do something to positively influence the future of this country.”
According to Malik, should the growing number of eligible Muslims voters participate in the future elections, the community itself could make a sizeable difference in which direction the country goes. VOC (Raeesah Isaacs)