Controversy over alleged visit by Quranic reciter accused of abuse
Cape Town - Secrecy shrouds an expected visit by internationally acclaimed Quranic reciter, Fatih Seferagic, for the month of Ramadaan, which has been harshly criticised following several allegations of sexual assault against him.
Last year, the non-profit organisation based in the US, Facing Abuse in Community Environments (Face) launched an investigation into the allegations against the German-born reciter.
In July 2020, Face said it had concluded phase one of its four-phase process in the public investigation, speaking to about 30 sources.
“This number includes at least 13 victims who have made credible allegations that include physical assault, rape, child molestation, spiritual abuse, manipulation and financial abuse,” according to an update posted on Facebook.
It is not yet known how far along the investigation is now, and how many alleged victims there are.
A poster shared by Seferagic of the intended visit for the first 10 days of Ramadaan did not include a single South African organisation facilitating the visit.
Nadia Jacobs said although initially requested to assist in providing a venue for his welcome dinner, she cancelled shortly afterwards due to personal reasons.
Jacobs previously helped facilitate international guests’ visits to South Africa for religious and educational purposes.
“In regard to Fatih Seferagic's visit to South Africa, I wish to explicitly place on record that I am not his host/organiser or involved in inviting him in any capacity whatsoever. Currently I am not aware of whether his intended trip to South Africa will still take place and when that might be,” said Jacobs.
“The recent attention in the media insofar as the allegations are concerned have garnered much interest in the matter and we wish to distance ourselves from such a debacle to protect our personal integrity and our fear of displeasing Almighty Allah.
"Indeed Allah Almighty knows what the truth is and we are mindful not to engage in the practice of slandering, backbiting and spreading rumors as Almighty Allah warned us of this sin," she said.
The Muslim Judicial Council’s second deputy president, Shaykh Riad Fataar, said he believed all programmes had been cancelled, however this was not confirmed or denied.
Several requests for comment sent to Seferagic’s management went unanswered.