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Table View Muslim community successfully purchases masjid, but not without challenges

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By:Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed

The Islamic Centre of Tableview is celebrating a milestone after it successfully purchased premises to serve the growing Muslim community. This comes after a long journey in locating a premises and the added burden of accessing funding to financially support the centre.  Fazlin Jakoet, the secretary of the Islamic Centre of Tableview explained that the community of Tableview have come a long way in working towards this goal.

“We have been in the area since 2003. At the time we were housed in a little home close to the beach. It was in a residential area. Besides parking issues we also faced various other issues including not being wanted in the residents of the area. In fact whenever there was an auspicious gathering with more than 10 cars the neighbours would come out and want to knock on the door asking ‘What are doing here?’ You are invading our space get out!’ But Alhamdulilah we persevered through all of those and worked with the community to make it a little more palatable.”

The centre had to relocate after 10 years as the owner needed the premise back and the community using the facility was growing larger. Then began the search for a new premise. After getting the run around from many bodies, the centre finally found a space at 11 Merlot Avenue in Tabelview.

“The search for a new premise was a difficult and arduous task. We found a premises in the community and we met the owner who is non-Muslim. He understood what we wanted and we stayed there from 2014. However, last year we ran into some issues again,” she said.

The owner of the premises was offered a cash purchase for the space by a church.

“That put us back into a flat spin. We just moved in three years prior and kitted out the area to make it user friendly for a masjid. Fortunately, the lease agreement that I drafted gives us the first offer to purchase. At that stage we had to equal at least or better the offer that the church was giving and they were giving around 3 million rand plus vat. And knowing that we couldn’t have our community stranded again we put in an offer to purchase,” Jakoet expounded.

For any institution, managing finances with very little donor support is often a headache. The Islamic Centre of Tableview was no stranger to these issues. However through the gracious contributions by people in the community and even those outside Cape Town, the centre was able to gather the funds needed to see the purchase through.

“With regards to the purchase price ,we collected money over the 10 years which we used to pay for the deposit. Moreover we were compelled to go on a collection drive to look for the balance of the purchase price and that didn’t come easy. Alhamdulilah, there are people that contribute in the community and there are those that do it regularly. We did need more contributions because 3.42 million rand is not a small amount which led to us looking outside Cape Town for funding.”

Jakoet added that a lot of the individuals they approached were from Durban and Johannesburg.

“People were eager to assist us hearing the plight that we have faced. We got as much of the purchase price as we needed unfortunately we were then R600 000 short. Then an anonymous lender said he would give us R600 000 and we could pay back without interest.”

She adds that the challenge is dealing with the public perception that because the centre is based in an affluent area, that it is financially stable.

“I think that is a contributing factor because when someone hears Tableview or Blouberg and surrounds they automatically think it is an affluent area. And also it appears that the centre is running effortlessly. But we are still sitting with a situation where we need to pay this loan and compensate this gentleman for the loan, so we need the community’s support,” she emphasised.

The centre will be hosting a range of fundraising activities. To find out more, visit their Facebook page Islamic Centre of Table View

To contribute to the centre contact Fazlin Jakoet on 081 474 4724.

FNB Bank
Branch: Grassy Park
Brach code; 203109
Account Name: The Islamic Centre of Tableview
Account Number: 6248 955 0189

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