The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) announced the launch of a new Independent Advisory Panel, in what is considered the most progessive move for the ulema body in its 70 year history. MJC president Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks said the panel is one the most significant developments for the ulema body and will positively impact its ability to serve society. This will achieved through the expertise of volunteers within the community with strengths in areas beyond traditional and religious affairs. The panel will offer the MJC beneficial information from the deep experience of subject matter from specialists residing within the South African society.
Addressing media at a press conference at the MJC’s headquarters, Hendricks said the announcement comes ahead of the ulema body’s 70th anniversary.
“In light of preparing for the year 2015, we will roll out a number of programs celebrating the 70th anniversary of the MJC. In the spirit of celebrations, we need to recognise that over the years, many people have made valuable contributions to the offices of the MJC, expressing their concerns, suggestions on how the MJC should improve and continue to play an effective role in this community. We have been taking cognisance of these efforts,” Hendricks said.
MJC second deputy-president, Sheikh Isgaak Taliep said the ulema council will be embracing change and transformation by being open to external experts and professional advise while thinking in a formalised and institutional manner. He said the ulema had acknowledged the public criticism that the council has conducted its affairs in “an insular and closed manner”.
In its attempts to embrace the change, it will be appointing skilled advisers for a better overall service to the community.
On the Nominations Committee is managing director of Ethicore political consultants, Abdul Waheed Patel; Prof Waheeda Amien from the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town as well as an admitted attorney of the South African High Court and prominent businessman, Sulaiman Noor. These individuals will hand pick members of the community who can provide insight into the pressing issues facing the community, making the MJC the first Muslim body to effectively adopt a mandate comprising of aspects other than religion of tradition.
However, Taliep added that the panel will be assisting on a voluntary basis. The group will also not be included in overall decision making on issues surrounding religion and tradition.
“The purpose of the Independent Advisory Panel will be to independently provide impartial professional expertise, advice, strategic counsel, thought leadership and guidance to the MJC in the designated subject matter areas requiring specialist advice excluding religious affairs,” Taliep added. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)