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Muslims rally behind firefighters

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Muslims in Cape Town are rallying behind the city’s heroic fire-fighters, by means of prayer and even generous food donations. The fire in the southern part of the peninsula has destroyed almost 3000 hectares of land, causing immense damage to properties, wildlife and agriculture.

Fire-fighters, pushing 18 hour shifts are being assisted through food parcels as strong winds feed the already destructive fire. Mustadafin Foundation’s Director, Gaironiesa Johnstone says the organisation is currently making pots of food for the fire-fighters, to provide them with the strength needed to contain the fierce fire.

“Our fire-fighters are working night and day. About 300 fighters are sacrificing their lives to stop the fire and save our beautiful mountain. We are already struggling with the heatwave, now just imagine how our fighters on the ground are feeling. We have already managed to distribute meals and plan on making more pots for supper,” Johnstone said.

There was also a call on social media by a Muslim firefighter urging for halaal food for fire-fighters, prompting community members near the Lakeside fire station to spring into action.

The Muslim Judicial Council has appealed to the broader community to assist the local NGO’s in their efforts to cater to those fighters and residents through donations of food or drink. MJC deputy president Sheikh Riyaad Fataar said there are a number of Muslim fire-fighters who are in need of Halal food and so, encouraged the Muslim community to assist them as they work through double hour shifts to contain the devastating fire.

On Tuesday morning, fire-fighters managed to contain the blaze at Chapman’s Peak on the Hout Bay side, Tokai Forest, and Noordhoek. According to the Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management, the fire is high up on the mountain slopes and ground crews are dealing with sporadic flare-ups.

While more fire-fighters from across the country, especially the Eastern Cape have made their way to the South Peninsula to assist exhausted teams already on the ground, a number of local humanitarian organisations have been hard at work on a rescue mission of their own.

In the Muizenberg and Hout Bay areas where historical Karamats are located, concerns from the Muslim community are surfacing as the fire continues. However, Magmoed Limbada from the Cape Mazzar Society has reassured that the karamats have not been damaged by the fire and is currently safe from the fierce blaze.

“Our caretakers have been in contact with us and so far, no damage is reported. During previous fires on the mountain, the Karamats have always been spared. Often we see the fire destroys everything around the Karamats. This we can only attribute to divine intervention,” Limbada said.

Meanwhile, local religious based Organisation Cape Town Islamic Educational Centre (CTIEC), have launched a “Donate Halal” campaign with the same objective. At the same time, CTIEC is in the process of arranging a salaah for rain and encouraging neighbouring communities to also make the necessary arrangements for the prayer, in hopes of bringing some relief to the current situation.

For more information on how to donate contact the Mustadafin Foundation on 021 633 0010 or contact Sayed Ridhwaan for information on the Mass prayers on 021 396 2896. According to a statement by CTIEC, volunteers and students will be providing meals to the heroic fire-fighters for as along as required and have also appealed to the community to donate food and or drink items in any quantity. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

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