Imam Rashid Omar from the Claremont Main Road Mosque believe believes 2017 has been an outstanding one for Muslim-Christian relations at the local level. In June, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba delivered the keynote address at the Claremont Main Road Mosque’s Annual General Meeting and called for greater interfaith solidarity in the struggle for social justice in South Africa.
In September Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Mphilo Tutu issued a heartfelt letter to fellow Nobel peace prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, urging her to intervene in the Rohingya crisis. He expressed his profound sadness at the deadly situation in the Rakhine State and called for Suu Kyi to guide her people back to the path of justice and righteousness. This was followed by a number of interfaith leaders, including Reverend Alan Storey, Father Micheal Lapsley and Terry Crawford-Browne, the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum and the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative joining the Cape Town March to express solidarity with the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar.
In November, the Muslim Judicial Council joined national interfaith leaders in supporting the National Day of Prayer, which was held on Sunday 26th November 2017. The purpose of the event was to unite all South Africans – irrespective of religion, race, culture or class – to pray for the poor, unemployed and marginalised, and for God’s guidance and blessings for a bright future for all its citizens.
As part of its support for the event, the Darul Islam Mosque in Surrey Estate hosted members of the Motsepe Foundation and other interfaith leaders at their Jumu`ah (Friday congregational service) on 24th November 2017. The National Prayer Service called on South Africans to redouble their efforts in building our country’s great tradition of interfaith harmony as an antidote to interreligious conflict.
“All of these inspirational events should not be taken for granted and should be celebrated. South Africa has been blessed with one of the most vibrant interfaith movements in the world, and at this joyous time of Christmas, the Claremont Main Road Mosque wishes to acknowledge the many wonderful achievements and gifts of our beloved country. In particular, we express our profound gratitude for the awe-inspiring interreligious harmony, coexistence and good relations between people of different faith traditions and those of none that we enjoy in our country,” said Imam Omar in his Friday sermon.
“At this blessed time, we express gratitude to the dedicated Christians and Muslims who work together to establish and maintain dialogue and reconciliation between our two faith communities.”
Meanwhile, Imam Omar spoke to Breakfast Beat on the importance of inter-religious tolerance and respect during Christmas and other holidays and the personality of Nabi Isa (as). Listen here: