Despite following the same religious ideologies and practices the Western Cape Muslim community continues to live and operate in silos, according to a representative of the newly formed Inter Community Forum. The group has been established as a means of promoting integration of various Muslim communities within the Cape, with specific focus on foreign national groups.
Forum representative, Raaghieb Najjaar estimates close to 20 different Muslim communities exist across Cape Town, with very little interaction existing between these groups.
“Sometimes we marginalise these people without even realising that we are marginalising them. Some of them actually have great skills that can make a contribution towards the development of the community in Cape Town,” he explained.
The primary objective of the forum will be to promote engagement, and shed light on some of the lesser known communities in the region.
There have at times been reported cases of friction between respective Muslim groups, particular within the business and informal trading sectors. Najjaar says many a time these issues are due to a lack of education and understanding of what each group brings to the table in regards to the overall development of the Muslim community.
“We are being told these people are taking our jobs and all these nasty things, yet there is enough research to show that they have contributed much more than they have taken out of our community,” he stated.
“This is just an attempt to let us start knowing, cooperating and interacting with each other.”
Najjaar says the focus will also be to engage with respective Muslim youth movements in order to get them on board with the initiative as well.
“They (the youth) are the future and they could probably settle and integrate much better than the older people. We want to focus on the young people so that once they integrate, we can fulfil the concept of the oneness of the ummah,” he concluded.
Those seeking to join the Forum can do so by contact the acting-chair, Ismail Osman at 073 615 2231. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)