Cape Town - Barely a week into the holy month of Ramadaan, Cape Town’s Muslim community is faced with two concerns.
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.
“Friday was the third time they came and issued fines for our congregants, and we asked the traffic authority why.
"We’re still awaiting feedback,” said Madinee Mayman, the Imam at Noorul Mogamediyah.
The mosque is in a narrow street. Congregants have been complaining about the City’s law enforcement issuing parking fines at a time when the area is not busy. It’s the first time in the mosque’s history that worshippers have been inconvenienced like this during Ramadaan.
Mayman said they had up to 180 congregants attending the roughly hour-long evening prayers during Ramadaan.
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.”
Meanwhile, 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.”
Here's part of last night's athaan for the Isha salaah at Muir Street mosque. It's been this way for decades. The athaan is now the subject of a noise complaint by a neighbour that the City of Cape Town says it is obliged to investigate. pic.twitter.com/BhJ6TRfLjE— Gasant Abarder (@GasantAbarder) May 12, 2019
District Six working committee chairperson Shahied Ajam said: “Whoever posted the petition must provide the names and addresses of the complainants. I can assure residents that the Athaan will not be stopped. It’s as simple as that. It’s time District Six residents operated in unionism and not in the silos we currently do.”
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said: “Cape Town has a proud legacy of religious tolerance and interfaith co-operation.
“It defies logic that anyone living in District Six, whether members of a small group of restitution beneficiaries or people who have chosen to invest in the still largely underdeveloped area, would consider the call to prayer worthy of a complaint.”
District Six Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Asa Salie said many residents in the area were furious.
“What we all want to know who lodged the complaint,” Salie said.
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.
“The City's Environmental Health Service respects the Muir Street mosque’s request that further engagement take place after the holy month of Ramadaan.
“Any petition being signed is not on the request of the City; furthermore, the Athaan has not been requested to be turned off. District Six is a diverse community and the City respects the right to practise any religion. Residents moving into the area are reminded of the rich cultural heritage that the area is synonymous for,” he said.@MarvinCharles17