Men Against Misogyny call on MJC to suspend Imam Dawood Sampson over ’derogatory utterances’
Cape Town – Men Against Misogyny in the Muslim community have called on the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) to suspend Maulana Dawood Sampson as an imam for his derogatory utterances towards women.
This comes after Sampson made comments in at least two videos posted on social media that were made under the guise of polygamy and his upcoming nuptials to his second wife, which he claims to be under Sharia law.
In their open letter, the 23 signatories - which include Judge Siraj Desai and Ebrahim Rasool - said they “unreservedly condemn the indecent and vile misogynistic language” of Sampson.
“Both the content and the tone ill befits any Muslim, let alone a scholar of Islam and an imam in our community. (Sampson’s) description of the response to his statement as a ‘distortion’ of his intentions clearly indicates that he does not fully appreciate the extent to which the contents of his statement and language were inappropriate and offensive, regardless of his intentions.
“There is thus a need for understanding exactly what the Maulana’s language meant in the context of gender violence and ongoing abuse, in other words how his words affirmed the worst stereotypes of women in Muslim communities,” the letter says.
The signatories have called on the MJC to suspend Sampson until he has participated in a re-education process.
“We call for the suspension of the Maulana from his position as imam at his mosque until he has been part of a re-education process that involves speaking to women’s advocates that will allow him to understand how his words and deeds have caused harm to women.
“The MJC and other Ulama (Muslim teaching) bodies need to go beyond public relations and face-saving exercises when matters such as these are brought to their attention.
“Serious attention must be paid to addressing misogyny and on-going women discrimination by the ulama fraternity and Muslim men in the community,” the letter says.
The group added it condemned the ongoing use of polygamy to assert male dominance and power over women through abuse and their unequal worth in polygamous marriages.
In his apology and retraction of his comments, prompted by the MJC, Sampson said his comments were “regrettably misconstrued to undermine and be disrespectful to our women”.
“Sometimes it is not good to say things in jest. Please accept my heartfelt and humble apology.”
The MJC did not respond to questions by deadline yesterday .
At the weekend, the Council said it noted Sampson’s utterances with concern. “We are deeply concerned at the wording and content of the posted message.
’’The references made to women during the recording, even though unintended, are unfortunate,” a statement from the MJC says.
According to reports, Sampson has decided to take a sabbatical from public engagements and interviews until further notice.