Religious leaders expressed concern about possible disrespectful behaviour at mosques, including urinating on walls, at Cape minstrel parade. File picture: Ian Landsberg/ANA
Cape Town - Religious leaders expressed concern about possible disrespectful behaviour at mosques, including urinating on walls, at the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel parade in Bo-Kaap.

Imam Abdul Moutie Saban, who has been the religious leader at the Jameah Masjid in Lower Chiappini Street for the past 40 years, said the annual behaviour was “getting worse and out of hand”.

He said they wanted to raise awareness about it.

“It always happens on January2 (Tweede Nuwe Jaar) when we encounter this situation, when some of the minstrels urinate against the walls of the mosque,” said Saban.

He said during the December 16 minstrel parade, planned as a warm-up for next week’s event, they also had “half-naked” girls entering the mosque to use the toilet.

“While we were making salaah (praying), some of the minstrels were performing in Bo-Kaap.

“There were about 15 buses that came into the area and they started marching,” said Saban.

“A group of young girls and some adults just walked into the masjid dressed half-naked and they wanted to use the toilets.

“Confrontations ensued because the worshippers were not used to that.

“When they were told the mosque did not have a public toilet, they became abusive. Then I got a message from the mosque up the road that the same thing happened there.

“When they have done what they need to, they leave the toilets dirty,” he said.

Saban said local religious leaders appealed to the parade organisers to change their route as it prevented people from entering the mosques during prayer times.

“Can they not take their march to Bree or Buitengracht Street? Why must it be in front of the mosque?

“Why must the roads leading to the mosque be closed?” he asked.

Muneeb Gambeno, one of the directors of the Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association organising the parade, said they “can’t comment on people using the toilets”.

“When it comes to our events, our plan takes account of toilets. Our plan has been approved and enough toilets have been allocated from our side,” said Gambeno.

“The mosques should mitigate against people just walking in. They can have some form of security.

“When you have thousands of people in the Bo-Kaap you would attract different kinds of people. We do have public toilets for people coming in.”

Safety and security mayoral committee member JPSmith said toilets would be available at the parade.

“In the past people urinated on the mosque’s steps. But there are ample toilets and security so we don’t have a crisis,” said Smith.

“We have even gone as far as putting fencing around some of the mosques. We need a list of all the places that are vulnerable. We can also deploy security,” he said.

@YazKam

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Cape Argus