Muslims for 360 years have actively struggled for recognition within the South African political process. However, following the fall of apartheid, with only one active Muslim led political party the Muslim community appears to have taken a back seat in asserting their concerns and adding value to the political progression of the country.
In preparation for upcoming election in August, the SA Muslim Network (SAMNET) is conducting a survey that will analyse the participation of the Muslim community in the political process and in the elections. In addition, the survey will focus on the existence of Muslim Political Parties and the criteria that Muslims in general decide upon when supporting a political party.
SAMNET chairperson Dr. Faisal Suliman explained that the organization has written to academics and submitted questions that are to be answered by 3 May 2016. Community members are invited to submit questions that they would like to have included in the survey, by April 24, 2016.
In addition, the survey will investigate the reason why Muslims, who often question secular voting, have not voted for a Muslim party of both past and present.
“We have had two Muslim parties, the Africa Muslim Party and presently Al-Jama-ah, both of whom have failed,” Suliman stated.
Suliman also noted that the survey will unpack the realities on the ground, where it has become evident that in spite of the political rhetoric of the Muslim Judicial Council, Muslims continue to vote for the Democratic alliance (DA).
“We know that a large number of Muslims have voted for the DA, notwithstanding the fact that people have said that the DA is pro-Israeli.”
The survey will, therefore, unpack the political motivations within the Muslim community.
“Would it be attitudes toward corruption, foreign policy, or the issue of Palestine – how do you list your criteria?” Suliman asked.
Suliman also stated that since the standard of participation of Muslims within the political framework has been unsatisfactory, it would be interesting to survey the manner in which Muslims view political issues within the country.
“It would be interesting to understand why they have not registered to vote or chosen to participate in the past.”
The results of the survey will be compiled by an independent company and will, subsequently, be made available to the public.
“The information may help political parties to tailor their product offering and it will be good for the Muslim community to know what people think and how to encourage people to get involved.”
“At the moment, it is a lot of guess work, so hopefully Muslims take the time to fill-in the survey. We will then have an idea [of the Muslim community’s political motivation] and it will lead to strategic value for the future. In the US, the small population of the Jewish community can swing a vote – the Muslim community currently has no leverage,” Suliman asserted.
Suliman concluded that the leaders of the country need to be educated about the concerns of the Muslim community, which he states can only be achieved if Muslims actively participate in the political process – “this survey is about the Muslim community for the Muslim community.”
For more information and to submit input, visit: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, Whatsapp 081 824 8256 or e-mail @samnet786.