By Naadiya Adams Twitter: @Miss_Naadiya
The 6th May marks an auspicious occasion as President Cyril Ramaphosa once again joined the Muslim community for iftaar during the final days of the holy month of Ramadaan.
Hosted by the Muslim Judicial Council in the Western Cape under the theme – We Shall Overcome #COVID19: Giving Thanks, Celebrating our Courage & Unity.
Ramaphosa acknowledged the Muslim community’s contribution to the fight against apartheid as many Muslim South Africans played pivotal roles in paving the way to democracy, with the likes of Yusuf Dadoo, Ferida Adams, Ahmed Timol and Ahmed Kathrada who were just a few on the frontline of the struggle.
“We know that this community paid a heavy price for its resistance but despite this, stood firm,” said Ramaphosa.
The President went on to praise the community for holding firm against a regime that was intolerant of diversity and unwelcoming of different races and cultures.
“Our history affirms the struggles of this community against the intolerance of centuries-old traditions, against disrespect for customs, and against the onslaught of crime and disorder,” the President said.
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) May 6, 2021
The month of Ramadaan comes with so much abundance of love that fosters a culture of giving. Many charity drives and campaigns take place during the holy month and Ramaphosa acknowledged the spirit of giving which reaches beyond Ramadaan.
Also in attendance at the event was Gift of the Givers Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, who has played an integral role in the fight against covid-19 since the pandemic began.
“This is a tradition of charity that has been maintained regardless of the faith or non-faith of those in need,” he said, commending the community for its work during the peak of COVID-19.
— Marvin Charles (@MarvinCharles_) May 6, 2021
Muslims have played an important role throughout the history of our country, not just in politics, but across industries. The contributions of a new generation of Muslim South Africans in a post-apartheid South Africa speaks volumes. Politicians such as Enver Surtee, Naledi Pandor, Fathima Chohan, and Ismail Vadi; Salim Abdul Karrim and Hoosen Coovadia in the medical field; academics like Adam Habib, Saleem Badat, and Abdulkader Tayob; activists such as Naeem Jeenah; Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, Sooraya Dadoo, Zaakir Mayet, the Al Imdaad Foundation, and others in philanthropy; Ferial Haffejee and Ayesha Kajee in media; and sportsman Hashim Amla, are just a few who have showcased the wealth of talent, determination, and excellence in civic participation.
South African Muslims enjoy the freedom to practice their religion in a space that is relatively free of Islamophobia which is vastly different from what many Muslims face in the rest of the Western world.
The Muslim community makes up around 3% of South Africa’s 60 million population.