WORKING TOGETHER: From left, Thandile Kona, Ebrahim Rasool and Abubakr Mohamed. The signing of the Cape Accord commits Muslim leaders to uphold the dignity of human beings, foster unity among Muslims and promote a positive image of Islam. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Islamic leaders from across South Africa gathered at the Masjidul Quds in Gatesville on Sunday to witness the signing of the Cape Accord, which hopes to foster unity among Muslims nationwide and denounce extremist behaviour seen in recent months.
The accord, which was adopted by about 25 organisations around SA, including the International Peace College of SA, Muslim Youth Movement and the SA Muslims Network, was spurred on by Islamophobia seen internationally and nationally.
The most recent incident was the bombing of the Imam Hussain Mosque in Durban.
According to Salim Hanware of the Madina Institute South Africa, the attack saw an innocent person being killed, which made it imperative to sign the accord.
Hanware said the accord called on communities to unite against hate speech and discord and promote intra-Muslim tolerance and co-operation.
It embraced the spirit of the Amman Message, signed in 2005, which aimed to capture Islam’s core values of compassion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and freedom of religion.
Abubakr Mohamed said the current Islamophobia could put to waste the Islam legacy built up over 300 years.
“In Durban one died, an innocent human being. The bomb found was not a bomb, but a chemical device or substance which was intended to strike the imam. Is this the Islam you want for your children?
“You make up your mind, because I’ve made up mine already to deal with such instances with all legal command possible.
“If we don’t deal with it now, it will destroy our communities and put to waste the legacy of 300 years.
“The Cape Accord has risen to confirm the Ammam message,” said Mohamed.
Sadullah Khan, CEO of Islamia College, agreed with Mohamed and said the signing of the accord signified a collective effort to uphold the dignity of Islam by protecting, promoting and advancing its image and being tolerant of differences of opinion.
Khan encouraged those signing the accord to reclaim mainstream Islam from extremists to ensure they left a legacy for their children.
Chairperson of Gatesville mosque committee Sataar Parker, said the signing was a momentous occasion in Cape Town and internationally as it was step towards unity, tolerance and reconciliation in the Muslim community. Parker encouraged all to be tolerant of one another.