Voice of the Cape

From the news desk

Plans for Franschhoek’s first masjid

The Franschhoek community will be seeing growing Islamic activity in the future as the establishment of a masjid finally approaches. Official Imam of the Franschhoek Masjid and Islamic Centre, Imam Ali Reza Abrahams, said they were excited by the prospect of finally having a place of worship in the tiny, picturesque wine farming district. As the establishment of the French Huguenots in South Africa, many residents of the mall town are of the Protestant faith. However, the imam says this is slowly changing.

“The Muslim community (in Franschhoek) started quite a few years ago. The first Muslims in Franschhoek were a brother called Junaid and his mother. They tried to open an Islamic restaurant but were ousted out of the so-called white community,” said Abrahams.

“After some years he [Junaid] returned and established an art centre in Franschhoek. Meanwhile, there were a few other brothers who established a small room for salaah.”

According to Imam Abrahams, the Muslim community is still growing and has members from other African countries, the middle east and the far east.

Abrahams estimates that the Muslim community has roughly 150 people in Franschhoek.

“Currently we are busy with a database because apparently there has been Muslims staying in Franschhoek and we haven’t had any clue who all the Muslims were. We hope to complete it within the next couple of weeks,” said Abrahams.

The planned masjid has very humble beginnings.

“About two months ago we approached the lady that is renting the current premises that we are occupying.

She gave it to us for the purpose of making salaah, doing our madrassa, as well as other activities we preferred to do from that particular centre,” added Abrahams.

“I don’t want to call it a masjid as yet, but we are hoping to buy the whole premises.”

The community also seems to not have posited any serious outcry against the establishment of the masjid, which in and of itself seems promising to the Imam.

“We haven’t had any objections yet – most of the non-Muslim community was friendly. We have been received in a very positive light Alhamdulillah,” said Abrahams.

With regards to the status of the masjid’s establishment, however, Abrahams indicated that negotiations with the municipality concerning the obtaining of a ground for an Islamic centre, are ongoing.

“Work is now currently being done to get the non-Muslim community aboard.”

“We intend to have an open day on the 30th March and we invite the non-Muslim community to come and see what the structure is all about. We will also hopefully be having some games and activities,” said Abrahams.

For more information their Facebook page is “Franschhoek Mosque”.  VOC

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