Cape Town - The Al-Jaamia Masjid (mosque) in Claremont, where the late Imam Abdullah Haron served for 12 years, was on Thursday unveiled as a Provincial Heritage Site.
“With the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape (HWC), the City of Cape Town’s facilitation and valued input from the Muslim Judicial Council, the socio-political and religious significance of this site is now officially acknowledged and will rightfully be promoted in the public domain as a Provincial Heritage Site,” said Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais.
“Imam Haron specialised in socially relevant religious teaching and saw this role as an opportunity to bring awareness to social inequalities. The classes he held at the Al-Jaamia Masjid revolutionised the thinking of those who attended,” said Marais, adding that the value of the masjid and the legacy of Imam Haron lay in their political and social nature.
“It is of outstanding significance for the memorialisation and acknowledgement of civil organisations and their role and contribution to our democratic society as experienced today,” said Marais.
During the ceremonies leading up to the unveiling of speakers, who included Imam Haron’s son Muhammad Haron, HWC Council chairperson Antonia Malan and Mxolisi Dlamuka, chief executive of the HWC, spoke about the imam’s contribution to the history of the Struggle and the country as a whole.
Over the past 123 days, a number of events of an educational, religious, political, cultural and sporting nature have been held throughout Cape Town celebrating the various ways that Imam Haron influenced the community.
The events were held over the 123-day period in which the imam was imprisoned.
The events ran from May 28, the date on which he was arrested, to today, September 27, the 50th anniversary of his death at the Cape Town Central Police Station, then known as Caledon Square Police Station.
The imam, co-founder and editor of Muslim News, allegedly fell down stairs after slipping on a bar of soap at Maitland police station. The former imam of Claremont Mosque had been held incommunicado for 123 days in 1969.
During his detention by the apartheid state, Imam Haron was questioned, beaten and tortured until his death on September 27, 1969. In terms of the security legislation under which he was detained, he was not allowed any visitors.
Apart from his jailers and torturers, there were no witnesses to the ordeal to which he was subjected.
Meanwhile, ANC MP Hishaam Mohamed said: “Today, 50 years later, we are no closer to the truth than we were then. I do not believe that the findings of the inquest held by the apartheid state was either fair or acceptable.
“As a human rights activist inspired by this martyr of the Struggle, I wantto call for the inquest into Imam Abdullah Haron’s death to be reopenedin order to bring those who killed our beloved imam to justice.
“His family and the rest of us need to know the truth about what had really happened to the imam in order to find closure,” said Mohamed.