Cape host disregards sexual assault allegations against Quranic reciter
Cape Town – In spite of mounting calls for a visit by famed Quranic reciter to be cancelled due to sexual assault allegations, his visits to Cape Town mosques forged ahead.
One of the people hosting Fatih Seferagic said his visit to several mosques continued as no formal charges were ever laid.
The American-based Quranic reciter, 26, arrived in Cape Town earlier this week, for the first ten days of Ramadaan.
Prior to his arrival with agent, Toqeer Khan, Seferajic shared a poster to social media on his visit, with no SA based affiliate group or organisation nor any contact information.
Online users have criticised the visit and have called for the South African hosts to come out of the woodwork.
A US-based non-profit organisation investigating cases of abuse by well-known community figures, Facing Abuse in Community Environments (FACE) is probing several allegations made against Seferagic.
In July 2020, FACE said it had at least 13 victims who have made credible allegations that include physical assault, rape, child molestation, spiritual abuse, manipulation, and financial abuse.
Following a request for an update on it’s investigations, FACE said it had completed 75% of its four phase investigation, and would be releasing its findings through a public report soon.
The organisation could not reveal how many women have since come forward with reports of alleged sexual assault and misconduct.
Several mosques in Cape Town refused to host Seferagic however, he was seen at four different mosques, this week leading the special ritual night prayers (taraweeh).
The Worcester Islamic Society live streamed the prayers held at their masjid, led by Seferagic on Facebook, however later removed it.
The names and locations of the three other mosques were concealed, though prayers from two mosques were live streamed on Seferagic’s Facebook page.
One host, Hafez Zaeem Rajah, questioned whether the allegations of sexual assault were even true.
“There’s no real case against him from any of the victims- claimed to be victims.
“If it was any of my daughters, I would personally attack him,” said Rajah.
“If that’s the case, if it was him (Seferagic), I’d lodge a police case against him.
“Why is it that there is not a single criminal case against him?
“He is coming to Cape Town to bring the love of the Qur’an.
“If you meet him, you’ll feel sorry for the guy.”
Rajah, who himself leads prayers, said that he was aware of many Imams with allegations of sexual assault against them, yet they continued to lead prayers.
On why Seferagic’s mosque visits were not made public knowledge, he said, “no mosque is (officially) hosting him”.
“It is something that we have to keep under cover for now, something we won't put out and advertise.”
City resident Nadia Jacobs’ initial involvement in his visit, was on a ‘courteous basis’, where she later withdrew all involvement citing personal reasons.
Jacobs told Cape Argus she was unaware of whether his trip would be going ahead and that it was to be “borne of their (Fatih’s) own costs and discretion”.
Seferagic will be heading to Sierra Leone, for a Quranic memorisation competition on April 25.