Cape Town - Social media has not reacted kindly following the news that two mosques located in the Cape Town CBD were facing intense scrutiny during Ramadaan.
In the Bo-Kaap, worshippers at the Mogamediyah Mosque in Vos Street were slapped with parking fines, while in District Six a complaint had been lodged about the Adhan (call to prayer) by the Zeenatul Islam Mosque in Muir Street.
The Zeenatul Islam trust said in a statement: “The masjid’s position is that the Athaan (Adhan) has been rendered audibly by the best means available since its inception in 1919.
“This continued through District Six’s establishment in Cape Town as a vibrant community and continued through the forced removals.”
The news that complaints were made about the call to prayer, and that the muslim community were facing fine while attending Mosque, did not go over lightly:
So in Cape Town, at one of the oldest mosques in the city and in the heart of District 6, Muir Street, the congregants need to sign a petition to allow them to make the call to prayer that they've made for decades! They received "multiple complaints". I can't believe this!— Gasant Abarder (@GasantAbarder) May 11, 2019
We can but only try to educate one another in order to coexist, I guess.— ARE YOU (@seriyaaz) May 11, 2019
What saddens me the most is that many of us try our best to include others and unselfishly so. I suppose the next one can hold your hand so tight but you’ll never know how sincere it is.
In Gugs we could hear the call from Manenberg and it gave a rhythm to our day. When I moved to Bamako (Mali), I would hear it every day during Ramadan. It always made me feel nostalgic about home. CoCT, why are you like this? Why are you this painful? https://t.co/1FO0FSRP7m— Pamela Masiko-Kambal (@Pamisdo) May 11, 2019
PSA (because apparently people don't know this)— This is a Sham (@Shamz04) May 11, 2019
If you choose to live near a mosque, expect the athaan.
A school, expect traffic during 07:00 - 08:00 everyday.
A church, bells on a Sunday morning.
A daycare, the sound of children screeching and playing.
Woooow. People are SHIT. I'm not Muslim, but the call to prayer is A - gorgeous, and B - a gentle reminder (to me) to ground myself, give thanks for the world and a perfect moment, and be present and still. Just because it's not your religion doesn't mean you have to fight it. https://t.co/iWms12aYMP— Jarn Athern (@JonWithTheFace) May 11, 2019
The audacity! It's mos simple, if you don't want to hear it then don't buy a house close to the mosque! 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️— Lana (@MissDaisySA) May 11, 2019
The Athan is part of our city’s cultural landscape - like trees in some areas, Cape Dutch buildings in other areas (built by Muslim slaves for colonial masters, nogal).— Waheed Parker (@waheedparker) May 11, 2019
It must be protected. We can’t simply sanitize our cultural landscape because it irritates some.
Surely you jest?— It's Tumelo (@TuhMeyLo) May 11, 2019
I'm atheist yet I wouldn't dream of preventing you religious from going to your worship places to do what you do, since when do we in SA prevent people from exercising their religious rites?
Even outgoing Premier Helen Zille weighed in on the matter saying that she would look into the complaints.
Hi Gasant, I have been out of town for the election period (in my constituency) due to return today. I will find out when I get back where the complaint comes from and how widespread it is, and what the law requires the City to do about it. Then I will revert. Sad days.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) May 12, 2019
Muir St Mosque is central to CTown's culture and history. It was there long before the surrounding developments. I hear the call to prayer early every morning. It is one of the auditory symbols of our cultural and religions plurality. We should all defend it. Hands off Muir St!— Helen Zille (@helenzille) May 12, 2019
About 40 years ago, I wrote a piece for a travel journal about Cape Town. Because the scenic beauty of CT is so well known, I wrote about the "sounds of Cape Town". The Muir St Mosque was central to that piece, as well as the "Aaaargeee" sellers and the gaadjies on the taxis!— Helen Zille (@helenzille) May 12, 2019
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said: “They are allowed to apply to the necessary traffic regulator in order to be exempted from that. It will be followed by closing off the road to the venue and allowing parking space. That’s responsible citizenship.”
Mayco member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien said a complaint was lodged with the police and said that the City had engaged with the mosque.