Hindus, Christians and more unite to show support for the Muslim call to prayer
Durban - DOZENS of people from various religions gathered on Sunday in solidarity with the Madrasah Taleemuddeen Islamic Institute in Isipingo, holding a drive-through protest in the area.
This was in response to a court ruling last week that placed limitations on how the institution would be permitted to sound the Azaan (call to prayer).
Last week, a Durban High Court judge ruled in favour of Chandra Ellaurie, an Isipingo Beach resident who said the call deprived him of the enjoyment of his property rights.
In his judgment, Judge Sidwell Mngadi issued a court order that the mosque must ensure that calls to prayer made from its property were not audible within the buildings of Ellaurie’s property some 20m away.
The ruling sparked wide outrage from across South Africa. It also made international news headlines.
On Sunday, Rivaaj Ramdas, from the Tactical Shooting Team, arranged a drive-through convoy across Isipingo, playing the Azaan over loudspeakers, as a show of support for the mosque and protest against the court ruling.
“We do not see religion before adding a member on. We embrace and respect all religions. We go out together to mosques, temples and even churches to pray and serve the community. Just a month back, all members (including Christian and Muslim) were cleaning a temple in Asherville.
“When we learnt about the court ruling we were angry, hurt and disappointed that one individual could put a religion down. We wanted to show our Muslim brothers and sisters that we support them, no matter what.
“We decided to do a convoy going around Isipingo, playing the Azaan. We had one Muslim member with us in the convoy, the rest of us were Christian and Hindu. We had different versions of the Azaan and each one of the six cars in the convoy played it on repeat.”
Ramdas said more cars joined their protest as they moved through the area.
“It was heart-warming to see the support from the community. We stopped briefly outside the mosque, but we did not make contact with anyone from the mosque Our protest was purely arranged by us to show our love and support, and to show that not all religions agree with what one individual says.”
Ramdas said the Azaan was a blessing: “It’s a call to prayer. If a person prays, that prayer does not only help the person praying, but the vibration resonates in the community and helps the community.”
He said the motorcade attracted wide attention: “We received messages from people in Chile, Argentina, Sudan and Morocco, to name a few. Even Qari Ziyaad Patel, a famous Islamic artist who recites the Qur’an, acknowledged the drive on social media.”
Ramdas said they would continue to show support for Islam.
The South African Hindu Maha Sabha said: “Against the background of the recent Azaan matter, we have lived together for 160 years as a community respecting all cultures, all religions and generally all South Africans.
“The unacceptable action of a single person does not change that. We always preach religious tolerance and respect.”
Legal representatives for the Madrasah Taleemuddeen Islamic Institute said they would be appealing the judgment.