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The role of Muslim stalwarts in our country’s politics

Neelam Rahim |neelam@radioislam.co.za

4 min read
18 December 2022 | 2:40 pm CAT

Islam has a rich and proud history in South Africa, and President Cyril Rampahosa has, on previous occasions, lauded the role that Muslims play in the country’s fight for survival. Without elaborating much, you can think of the names of people who played a massive role in the battle for this country.

Talking to Radio Islam International, Veteran Ismail Bhai Wadee highlighted Muslim contribution towards the liberation struggle and freedom in South Africa today.

Considering the size of the Muslim population in South Africa, in the earlier 20th century, it would have been under half a percent, a small population now closer to 2 percent.

According to Wadee, even though a small population, the minority of the Muslim community has contributed tremendously to the struggle for freedom.

“There are many significant leaders in Natal and the Cape province whose contributions through the vehicle of the ANC and other liberation organisations such as PAC,” he added.

Looking back at the early parts of the century, an outstanding leader was the Imam of the Newtown Masjid. Imam Abdul Qadr Babali had come from India but played a major role in the passive resistance campaign initiated by Gandhi between 1906 and 1914.

Later generations prove that Suliman Nana was an important figure in the 1930s and 1940s and was the Secretary of the Transvaal Indian National Congress.

Through the 1940s and 1950s, there were many outstanding leaders in the Muslim community, including Dr Dadoo, an exceptional leader both of the Indian community and also a National Leader highly respected within the African majority community in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Wadee shares his concerns about the current division within the leadership.

“I’m hoping that a better quality leadership will emerge, particularly those who have a higher ethical standard. And who have put the people and the public’s interest before self interest,” he said.

Listen to the interview below on Radio Islam’s podcast.

 

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