Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

April 2006
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A Slice of Africa

From Dawah Caravans to Media Monitors

The growth and survival of Islam in South Africa is a phenomenon possessing characteristics not always common to the rest of the Muslim world. This is because Islam at the tip of Africa was not imported by Arab traders or Ottoman armies, but by oppressed slaves and political exiles. Many of these people came from the Malay-Indonesian archipelago at the hands of the Dutch who were trying to establish hegemony in the region in the 17th century. The Cape of Good Hope was a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company (DEIC) and a place to send exiled and dethroned rulers from its eastern provinces. Many of these political exiles were some of the first Muslims in South Africa, an example being Sheikh Yusuf of Mucassar (Indonesia), who arrived in the second half of the 17th century with his family and entourage totalling 49 people. His dwellings on the False Bay Coast attracted fugitive slaves and other easterners, and are the first evidence of the establishment of Islam and its dissemination among slaves on the Cape. Consequently, Sheikh Yusuf is considered the founder of Islam on the Cape of Good Hope.

Back to the present, now in 2006, one can witness many Islamic organisations in South Africa, that are actively working towards not just dawah, but education and upliftment of the Muslims in Africa. Here are showcased some of the prominent organisations.

Islamic Dawah Movement

The Islamic Dawah Movement(IDM) of Southern Africa began in 1977 as an Islamic dawah social welfare organisation in the Marianhill-Umlaas complex within the greater Durban area. Some founding members on a chance visit to Marianhill discovered a ‘lost community’ of Muslims (mostly Malawian) living amongst the local population. These people unfortunately had little or no contact with Islam. Children had no knowledge of Islam other than their names and the greeting ‘As Salaamu Alaikum’. An old house was then obtained and used as a centre of activity with a Jamaat Khana and Madrasa classes. Later, a medical clinic, welfare office and library were established in addition to sports and basic self-help schemes. More centres were built in the surrounding areas and eventually centres were being built all over Southern Africa.

The areas of activity of IDM constantly expanded, and some projects grew and became independent of IDM. However with experience, IDM has over the years consolidated the number of centres and is concentrating on qualitative dawah rather than quantitative dawah. At the moment, IDM has a full-time staff, in addition to numerous volunteer workers. IDM was established with the aim of disseminating the message of Islam, and this remains its primary focus.

IDM also involves itself in the country’s welfare and development, and is at the same time concerned with protection of the rights and liberties of Muslims.

The core philosophy of IDM is based on: World class standards and professionalism, building capacities of people and communities, resilience to accommodate for expansion, adherence to the Quran and Sunnah. IDM is staffed by over 60 duat, teachers and administrators all over South Africa, with its main office in Durban. At the head of IDM is Dr Ebrahim Dada. IDM is also a welfare body that concerns itself with the well-being of fellow humans. It operates many programmes such as feeding schemes, qurbani programmes amongst others. IDM operates programmes as wide-ranging as sewing classes to dawah training, even facilitating the discussion of topics such as Islamic banking. IDM also sells books of an Islamic nature to the public.

Mission Statement

The mission of IDM is to promote the message of the unity of God to all people of Southern Africa so that they may achieve their God-given potential of excellence and purity and in this way contribute to the moral, spiritual, social, intellectual and economic growth of the nation as a whole

Contact Person: Dr. Ebrahim Dada - National Executive
Director Head Office – Durban, PO Box 49010, Qualbert, 4078,
Tel: (++27-31) 304 6883, Fax: (++27-31) 305 1292, Email: [email protected]

Media Review Network

There are more than one million Muslims living in South Africa. The Media Review Network, (MRN) given its experience, the commitment of its members and as a result of gracious donors and support from the public, is well placed to spearhead the task of meeting challenges posed by a sophisticated mass communication system. With Iqbal Jassat as the chairman of MRN, Dr Firoz Osman as the secretary and Shamshad Khan as co-ordinator, Southern Africa, this organisation believes that Muslim perspective on issues and their impact on South Africans are a pre-requisite to a better appreciation of Islam. Based in Gauteng, South Africa, MRN aims to: monitor, analyze and evaluate distortions, fabrications and double standards in the mass media, conduct research on the impact and publish these findings regularly, to counter the onslaught on Islam, its norms and values, to nullify certain stereotypes like “terrorists,” “fundamentalists,” “radicals”, “fanatics” etc, to promote the training of committed Muslims in the specialised fields of communications and journalism and to establish an effective network of co-operation with Muslims engaged in the publication of Islamic magazines across the world. “Recently MRN representatives addressed three international conferences, one in Jeddah, another in Khartoum in Sudan and also in Lausanne, Switzerland. At these conferences, we surveyed the South African Muslim media landscape and shared our experiences in challenging Islamophobia to a forum of international journalists,” says Firoz Osman. The MRN’s participation in political, social, human rights and Islamic issues of the broader community has offered opportunities to wrestle with varied issues, to exert leadership at all times and above all to make truth known to often hostile adversaries.

For more information, contact: Media Review Network,
PO Box-14391, Laudium-0037, Gauteng, South Africa. Email: [email protected]

Dawah Co-Ordinating Forum

The Dawah Co-ordinating Forum (DCF) was launched on May 15th 2004 at a historical meeting held at the Verulam Islamic Institute in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Muslim activists and Dawah workers from diverse organisations and ethnic backgrounds dropped their agendas and cultural biases and joined hands to form a broad coalition. The intention was to develop a meeting place and a practical forum for working unity. The DCF supporters felt that it was high time that Muslims resist divisions and labels like modernists, fundamentalists, secularists, traditionalists and other man-made categories. The DCF organised the Dawah Caravan-2004 and 2005 in Southern Africa. It began to move in all directions from the newly established office in Durban. A Dawah caravan led by Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick and Rafeek Hassen was sent to Gabarone between September 10-12, 2004. The caravan travelled to Mt. Fletcher, Kwazulu Natal, Ethiopia, Limpopo, Gauteng Province, Eastern Cape Province, Lesotho and Western Cape. A new “ Discover Islam Centre” was opened in May 2005 under the leadership of Dr Abdullah Hakim Quick. This all-purpose venue will have a special youth desk and the provincial DCF. A major gathering of Dawah agencies is planned for the near future with the hope of really uniting the active workers in the field.

The core functions of DCF include strengthening the bonds of co-operation between previously marginalised Muslims and organisations, apart from getting local workers to help build partnerships with government for various upliftment projects like HIV/ AIDS awareness, adult literacy skills, African Renaissance and moral re-generation of the nation.

For more information, contact: Dawah Co-ordinating Forum, Suite 215, IPCI Building, 124 Queen Street, Durban, 4001. Email:[email protected]

Al-Ansaar Foundation

Al-Ansaar Foundation was founded in 1993 by a group of forward thinking, progressive individuals. Their primary aim was to reinforce Islamic beliefs and principles to the local community through education. The activities of the Foundation range from: pre-school education to adult literacy, Islamic education of the handicapped, preservation of Islamic literature, arts and culture, mass media reinforcement of Islam through print and broadcast mediums, funding for tertiary education, promotion and branding of Muslim business and hosting trade fairs. Mahomed Joosab is the chairman of the Foundation while Riaz Jamal is the secretary general.

For more information, contact: Al-Ansaar Foundation, P.O.Box 19031, Dormeton-4015, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Email: [email protected]

Islamic Propagation Centre International

For over 40 years, the Islamic Propagation Centre International has been at the forefront of inviting people, irrespective of race, colour or creed, to Islam. Inspired by the founder late, Sheikh Ahmed Deedat, the Centre continues to diligently deliver the message clearly as the Almighty Allah commands in the Qur’an: “And your duty is to proclaim the clear message.”

Training the next generation of Deedats, printing of English translation of the Qur’an, publishing literature, meeting the demand for literature from all parts of the world, welcoming those who embrace Islam and teaching them, form part of the many activities of IPCI.

“Inviting scholars and famous personalities to South Africa, helping the Muslim community to become more resourceful, printing Islamic literature into local African languages, producing and distributing videos dealing with Islamic themes, conducting daily classes on Islam, convening daily mosque tours and presenting Islam to visitors, making our facilities available for social, spiritual and cultural development and establishing Sheikh Deedat archival library, are our main activities, “ explains Rafeek Hassen, Director at IPCI, Durban.

For more information,
contact: Rafeek Hassen
(Director), 4th Floor, 124
Queen Street, Durban 4001.
Email:[email protected]

Quran in Afrikaans

Afrikaans is a relatively new language in terms of global history and spoken only in the Southern tip of Africa. Spoken by about 6 million people of all races and religious groups in South Africa, the number being such, merits a translation of the original Arabic Quran into this language. The translation has been verified by the Muslim Judicial Council, the highest Ulema body in the Western Cape and one of the foremost Ulema body in South Africa. Dr Ebrahim Dada, National Executive Director of IDM says: “ It is indeed heartening and inspiring to witness the elucidation of Islam from none other than its original source-the holy Quran, in the Afrikaans language. The new look “ Die Heilige Koran” will be available from the IDM offices.

Symposium on Islamic Civilisation in Southern Africa

An international symposium on ‘Islamic Civilisation in Southern Africa’ will be jointly organised by the Istanbul based IRCICA and the National Foundation of South Africa (Awqaf SA) and the University of Johannesburg on September 1-3, 2006.

The symposium will examine topics such as the spread of Islam in South Africa, the relationship between trade and Islam, language and Islamic literature, Islamic education and intellectual development, history-contribution and challenges, colonialism, apartheid and democracy, co-existence of culture, arts and crafts, architecture and archaeology, future perspectives, Muslim media-influential figures, establishment of financial institutions, community-state relations and NGOs.

For the purpose of the symposium, Southern Africa will include South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Comoros, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botwwana, Malawi, Swaziland, Seychelles, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Madagascar, Re-union and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The official language would be English, but French, Arabic and Zulu will also be accommodated. Abstracts of the paper from those interested should be submitted in English by end of April 2006 addressed to: IRCICA, Yildiz Sarayi, Seyir Kosku, Barbaros Bulyari, 80700, Istanbul, Turkey, e-mail: [email protected], Telephone: 90-212-2591742.

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