The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has called on all Cape Muslims to support protests against US President Barack Obama when he visits Cape Town. Picture: AP
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has called on all Cape Muslims to support protests against US President Barack Obama when he visits Cape Town. Picture: AP

Muslims asked to support Obama protests

By Murray Williams Time of article published Jun 19, 2013

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Cape Town - The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has called on all Cape Muslims to support protests against US President Barack Obama when he visits Cape Town.

The 44th US president will travel to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania from June 26 to July 3 to strengthen “economic growth, investment and trade”.

Already, an association of lawyers, the Muslim Lawyers’ Association, has called for Obama’s arrest when he enters South Africa.

And now, speaking to the Cape Argus on Tuesday night, MJC spokeswoman Nabeweya Malick called on Muslims to join protests against US policy when Obama is here.

She said the MJC supported “any humanitarian effort” - and this means affiliating the MJC with the organisations Boycott. Divestment. Sanctions (BDS) and MRN (Media Review Network) in particular.

“America’s human rights abuses in the Middle East are fact. We would thus call on Muslims to make their voices heard,” said Malick.

Last week, the Washington Post reported a massive security presence for Obama, costing $60 million to $100m (R600m to R1 billion), but Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s office said it had not been approached with any protocol requests. Instead, it would be the SAPS that would take the lead.

The Washington Post reported: “Hundreds of US Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. A navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma centre, will be stationed off-shore in case of an emergency.

“Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet­proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the US’s first family will stay.”

Asked to comment, spokesman of the US embassy in Pretoria, Jack Hillmeyer, said: “Obviously we don’t comment on specific security issues; suffice to say we work very closely with the host countries on the president’s security arrangements.

“And we seek to minimise any disruptions,” he promised.

Regarding reports that the Obamas may visit Robben Island, the Robben Island Museum’s chief executive, Sibongiseni Mkhize said: “Yes, we have been contacted, but not with any times or dates.”

He confirmed that some VIPs were typically ferried to the island by helicopter, taking off at Ysterplaat Air Force Base.

Mkhize said it would be up to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation to decide who the Obamas’ tour guide would be - a senior ex-political prisoner such as Ahmed Kathrada, for example.

There have also been reports that Obama would visit UCT.

Asked for comment, spokeswoman Pat Lucas said: “UCT does not manage Obama’s diary”.

She refused to comment any further.

When asked for any further information, on the grounds that UCT was a public institution, she again refused to comment. She would also not say whether this was for security reasons, or whether UCT had not yet been contacted.

Cape Argus

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