Ever had a random cup of tea in the office of the president of the Muslim Judicial Council? Seems like a far-fetched idea. But that’s exactly what Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams, the new president of the MJC is saying – ‘let’s chat over a cup of tea.’
It’s been called a “new era” for the MJC and now it seems the new leadership is looking to do just that – get back to basics. After years of bad press and criticism that it was out of touch with the reality of ordinary Muslims, the MJC is taking one bold step towards repairing its image by reconnecting with its constituency through an open forum.
The Surrey Estate imam was elected on 23 April as the new president and since then has been preparing for his role in the new position. His official inauguration takes place on Wednesday 1st June, an event which he wants the community to be part of.
“In line with Shaykh Irfaan’s vision to be more connected to the community and for the community to feel this is ‘their MJC’, Shaykh felt we have to invite our ulema and our community for a cup of tea. We would therefore like to extend a warm welcome to the ulema, business community and ordinary people to visit us and engage with the president,” said MJC spokesperson Nabeweya Malick.
The MJC has received a fair amount of flak over the years and has a lot to do to repair its waning image in the media. When it comes to engagement with the local Muslim community, Malick acknowledges it’s another area that needs serious work.
“One of the things Shaykh has said is that we do a lot for the community but the role we play is not highlighted. The more we build these bridges with the community and share these projects, the more people will see the MJC as a body to serve the community.”
Abrahams is said to be handling his new position with the gusto he usually displays on the mimbar. Over the past few weeks, he has been visiting schools, prisons, met with regional councils and kick-started projects in place that the MJC will address in the short term.
“Shaykh has brought a great dimension to the MJC. He is a grassroots person and is on the ground. And he simply wants to serve the community. This breaks a lot of ice as a lot of people see the MJC as out of reach. This [tea] is a great step towards building these relationships,” said Malick.
She added that the ulema body see the event as a way to start Ramadan “on a positive note” that will benefit the community and the city’s shuyookh.
The event starts at 9.30am at the MJC’s headquarters situated at 20 Cashel Avenue, off Thornton Road in Athlone. If the public want to find out more, call the MJC offices on 021 684 4600. VOC