Picture: Supplied
Picture: Supplied

Nizamiye’s interfaith Iftar-dinners exhibit SA’s diverse culture

By Opinion Time of article published May 10, 2021

Share this article:

Turkmen Terzi

South Africa’s ethnic, cultural and religious diversity was once again fully exhibited in the courtyard of Nizamiye Mosque of Midrand, as the politicians, academics, media, business people and members of the faith-based community celebrated iftar dinner with Muslims.

More than 200 people from every walk of life gathered in the courtyard surrounded with calligraphed stoas. The guests seated according to Covid-19 rules in the two different iftar programs which were organised in the first and last week of Ramadaan.

Barbara Creecy, the Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities, Gauteng finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, Cope’s leader Mosioua Lekota Fasiha Hassan, the youngest Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Ismail Mufti Menk were among the iftar participants.

“We have spoken this evening about the meaning of this time of Ramadaan, this time of introspection, of self-reflection, of self-discipline, of self-sacrifice. I think at this very difficult time in our country and in the world, it has special meaning for us. For those of us who have the privilege to be in government and to serve, it is an important time to reflect on the fact that we must restore servant leadership in government during this pandemic, ” Minister Barbara Creecy said, calling for all citizens to join hands with government in its efforts to ensure South Africa's recovery and reconstruction, in her iftar speech.

“For me, it is also a time to give thanks for the Turkish community in our country. Thank you for your friendship with South Africa, thanks you for the wonderful schools that you have, many of which I have had the privilege to visit in my previous roles in the government.

“Then you have this wonderful centre and the health facilities that are here and [thank you] for the wonderful works of charity.”

Creecy thanked members of the Fountain Education Trust, which runs Nizamiye Complex.

Nizamiye’s iftar program started with a Quran recital and followed by a welcome speech by Faruk Turkmen, the director of the Nizamiye Complex.

The guests enjoyed traditional briyani and Turkish cuisine dishes at the iftar menu.

More than a billion devout Muslims around the globe abstain from food and drink and praying from sunrise until sunset during the holy month of Ramadaan.

Nizamiye Mosque Complex was built by Turkish Philanthropist Ali Katircioglu in 2012 as the biggest mosque in Southern Hemisphere.

Katircioglu had a chance to meet South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela in his Houghton home and added a health clinic into the complex at the personal request of Mandela.

Besides interfaith iftar dinners, Nizamiye daily feeds around 500 people in its basement hall at iftar time. The complex has also extended its iftar meal and food distribution to the townships. Since Ramadaan has started, around 2 000 needy families received Nizamiye’s food parcels in Daviyton, Alexandra and Thembisa townships. Many mosques, also in these townships, get daily iftar meals from Nizamiye’s large kitchen during Ramadaan.

* Turkmen Terzi is a Turkish journalist based in Johannesburg.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.

Share this article: