THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS -At its 39th annual conference, Crime Stoppers International (CSI) announced Sharon Hanlon, Director from Region Five (Australia/New Zealand/South-East Asia) and Yusuf Abramjee, one of the Directors for Region Seven (South Africa) as elected President and Vice President to lead CSI. In the 40 years since Crime Stoppers began, this is the first time a woman has served as president.
Here is the full legal opinion of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on whether Muslim students are allowed to grow beards at schools.
I raised the matter with Deputy Minister, Enver a Surtee, and I thank him for the assistance. The matter was brought to my attention by a parent.
It’s time schools, both public and private, stopped targeting Muslim students. Our Constitution is clear!
Here is the full opinion as received from the department:
Your emails dated 18 and 30 September 2018 below refers.
Kindly be informed that in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, (section 15 of the Bill of Rights) affords everyone with the right to freedom of conscience, religion, belief and opinion. To further realise the constitutional mandate, section 7 of the South African Schools Act, 1996 ( Act No. 84 of 1996 (the SASA) provides for freedom of conscience and religion at public schools. It provides the following-
“Subject to the Constitution and any applicable provincial law, religious observances may be conducted at a public school under rules issued by the governing body if such observances are conducted on an equitable basis and attendance at them by learners and members of staff is free and voluntary.”
The above provision should be read in the context of the entire education jurisprudence and not in isolation. This provision also applies to independent schools. One of the primary requirements for registration of an independent school as contemplated in section 46 amongst others is that-
(3) A Head of Department must register an independent school if he or she is satisfied that—
(a) the standards to be maintained by such school will not be inferior to the standards in comparable public schools;
Section 7 has laid a standard pertaining to religious observance in schools and it is enforceable to both public and independent schools. To further provide clarity on this matter, one must not lose sight of the fact that the constitution applies both horizontal as against private institution and vertically against state organs. Independent schools are not exempted from complying with Chapter 2 of the Constitution and the department has a responsibility to respect, protect and promote it.
Freedom of religion was further given content and meaning in the Pillay judgement by both the High Court and the Constitutional Court.
In its judgment, the High Court1 (Kondile J with Tshabalala JP concurring) held that the conduct of the School was discriminatory against Sunali and was unfair in terms of the Equality Act. It held that our society prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination and aims to eliminate entrenched inequalities. It held further that the Equality Court had failed to consider properly the impact of the Constitution and the Equality Act on the Code and that both religion and culture are equally protected under the Equality Act and the Constitution. Because the nose stud had religious and/or cultural significance to Sunali, the failure to treat her differently from her peers amounted to withholding from her “the benefit, opportunity and advantage of enjoying fully [her] culture and/or of practising [her] religion” and therefore constituted indirect discrimination. The Court held further that the desire to maintain discipline in the School was not an acceptable reason for the prohibition as there was no evidence that wearing the nose stud had a disruptive effect on the smooth-running of the School.
Although the Constitutional court set aside the decision of the high Court, it also declared that the decision of the Governing Body of Durban Girls’ High School to refuse Sunali Pillay an exemption from its Code of Conduct to allow her to wear a nose stud, discriminated unfairly against her.
The High Court in Organisasie vir Godsdienste – Ondering en Demokrasie v Laerskool Randhart and others (organization for religions, education and democracy), held that all school governing bodies, as chief custodians of the schools’ governance, should always adopt religious policies that are consistent with the Constitution and with any other applicable law. Learners are entitled to practice and observe their religious beliefs in accordance with the policy determined by the school governing body, but, by law, such policy must accord the same status and recognition to all religions and belief systems
In compliance to the Constitution and Case law the school cannot prohibit a learner from practicing and observing a religion of their choice. Ashton College cannot determine a code of conduct in conflict with the above authority.
The advice to both Ashton College and Mr *** is to heed the words of O’REGAN J in the Pillay matter which read as follows-
“It needs to be emphasised however, that the strength of our schools will be enhanced only if parents, learners and teachers accept that we all own our public schools and that we should all take responsibility for their continued growth and success. Where possible processes should be available in schools for the resolution of disputes, and all engaged in such conflict should do so with civility and courtesy.”
I hope this would assist…
Adv C Ledwaba
Adding to the frustration is the time wasted due to the lack of information available to the emergency operator.
They don’t know who you are, or where you are.
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Namola encourages South Africans not only to get help for themselves with Namola, but to use it as a trusted resource to get others in your community help.
“It’s great to see that so many people are using Namola to report emergencies on behalf of others,” says Maanda Tshifularo, Head of Namola’s sponsor, Dialdirect Insurance. ”We love that Namola is fast becoming the tool of choice to combat crime and make communities in South Africa a safer place to live.”
Namola is available as a free download at namola.co/sfa
*Yusuf Abramjee is the Chief Ambassador for the Namola/DialDirect safety app and an anti-crime activist.
MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday 12 September 2018
SHALLCROSS COMMUNITY UNITES TO FIGHT CRIME AND IMPROVE SERVICE DELIVERY
The business community of Shallcross outside Durban met with the leaders of the “Bottle Brush” informal settlement, the Deputy Mayor of eThekwini, municipal officials, civic leaders, senior police officers, representatives of the community policing forum and anti-crime activists to discuss safety, security and service delivery issues.
The meeting was hosted by the Oasis Group, owners of the Mall, The Ridge @ Shallcross.
Deputy Chairperson of Oasis, Nazeem Ebrahim, said the issues affecting residents of the informal settlement had to be addressed “with urgency.”
Some of the problems include poor lighting, lack of police visibility, dumping of refuse, and protest action against the lack of service delivery which contributed to the false perception that the area is not safe.
Ebrahim said the mall “was extremely safe. Not a single robbery or theft of vehicles have been reported over the past few years. We pride ourselves on providing our shoppers with top security,” he said.
Ebrahim said the business community had to form partnerships at all levels “to assist in developing communities and creating safer neighbourhoods. We need to work together as community members and that requires that we also stand together to ensure that everyone has access to basic services. We have co-existed next to Bottle Brush for a number of years and they, together with the residents in the surrounding areas, are our shoppers and we value them. Living in an informal settlement does not mean you are associated with crime, and we need to dispel these references and move away from giving each other these labels. We are all part of the community and all of us want a safe environment and where one part of our community is affected, we all need to step in and help them”
Lucky Zulu, one of the leaders of “Bottle Brush” echoed Ebrahim’s sentiments saying that the Mall and the community have an inter-dependant relationship and cooperation is an imperative.
Deputy Mayor of eThekwini, Councillor Fawzia Peer, said the issues raised by the community were being addressed.
The municipality said high-rise electricity masts are to be erected in the informal settlement. The electrification of the area will also start in phases.
Residents called for more police visibility along the Link Road. The Community Police Forum and the SAPS undertook to finalize a programme.
“Patrollers along the road is an option and we are looking at it,” said Peer.
A call was also made for a pedestrian bridge. The municipality undertook to explore it.
She said the The Ridge @ Shallcross has offered her department the installation of CCTV cameras to monitor the area “which we welcome and appreciate.”
Elvis Govender, Chairman of the Moorten Chatsworth Community Policing Forum said that “service delivery by the municipality needs to be prioritised in the provision of waste removal facilities and services”.
Falakhe Mhlongo, Secretary of the Ward Committee agreed that having a dedicated bin collection space be considered and that he would engage the Bottle Brush community to relocate some of the informal dwellings to enable services by the municipality.
Social Activist, Yusuf Abramjee, said it was necessary for all sectors of society to work together.
“We have to promote social cohesion. We also agreed to look at ways of assisting the ‘Bottle Brush’ community with social programmes.”
Abramjee appealed to residents to use the Namola/Dial Direct Safety App to report crime. It can be downloaded for free.
He said residents should also use the app to report illegal electricity connections. “We have a problem in this area also and the power often goes out because of the illegal connections.
“We will pass the information on to the eThekwini municipality and ask them to act,” said Abramjee.
He thanked the management and tenants of the The Ridge@ Shallcross mall for “being proactive and making a difference. This is Ubuntu in action.”
Community leaders from “Bottle Brush” thanked the mall and Peer for taking their concerns seriously and promised to work hand-in-hand to improve conditions.
Mahendra Lillkant, chairperson of the Shallcross Community Police Forum said: “On behalf of the sector, I would like to thank the Oasis Group for meeting with the community and we look forward to forming a partnership to decrease crime in the area. We would like for more businesses to come on board and strengthen this partnership as together we can make a difference.”
021 413 7860
Mashatile said “there is no place for racism and hatred. We are all one. We want this person hunted down, arrested, charges and punished. I came here to provide an affidavit to police to support the charges opened by Yusuf, a fellow #TurnBackCrime ambassador.”
NOTES: ADDRESS BY YUSUF ABRAMJEE, SOCIAL COHESION ADVOCATE
Muslim Judicial Council
72nd anniversary: Cape Town.
Friday 10 February 2017
Congratulations to the MJC – celebrating 72 years of serving the community. We salute the leadership of the council and we wish you well.
I want to focus on a few current issues:
It is disgraceful and hurtful to see Islamophobia on the rise – locally and internationally.
Hatred for Muslims from some quarters is on the increase and the time has come for citizens to stand up, promote religious tolerance and take a stand against those who are targeting Islam.
Islam is a religion of peace. Those who carry out violence, promote discord and hatred and kill the innocent in the name of our religion should be condemned and criticized at every corner. We need to ensure that we promote peace, love, reconciliation and compassion.
We as South African Muslims should celebrate the fact that we enjoy religious freedom. Our Constitution guarantees us that. Although we are a minority in this country, we are able to exercise our religious rights freely and openly and that is something to be proud of. It’s something to celebrate.
The recent attacks on three Mosques in the Western Cape is a disgrace. We strongly condemn the acts of those who want to sow division, promote religious intolerance and those who are out to destabilize our communities. We say: Shame on you. You will not succeed by throwing pigs heads and blood in our places of worship.
My message to the culprits is clear: You will not succeed in your evil quest of tarnishing our religion. We remain hopeful that the law will come down hard on you – sooner or later. You nameless and faceless individuals should need be arrested, convicted and punished. You will eventually be exposed.
It is concerning for us as Muslims to see an increase in objections to Mosques in many areas of South Africa. There seems to be a movement at work mobilizing to try to stop the building of Muslim places of worship. We have seen it in areas like Valhalla in Pretoria, Sandton and Buccleau and now Atholl in northern Johannesburg.
The objectors use traffic and noise levels as a disguise to oppose the erection of Mosques. These same objectors will not make a noise when bottle stores, casinos and prostitution dens open right in their neighborhoods. But they mobilize when Muslims want to pray. This is a sad indictment on society. The time has come for all of us to show religious tolerance and to respect each other’s religions. We need Mosques, Churches, Temples and Synagogues side by side. We need to allow everyone the opportunity to pray and to exercise their religious freedoms. This will take us forward!
We need to respect all religions.
This week, I again saw a number of posts on social media in South Africa by individuals criticizing Muslims and Islam, insulting our beloved Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and calling us, Muslims names.
I don’t want to repeat some of the things said…It is sickening and nauseating. Such foul, nasty and odious attacks on our religion must stop. Institutions such as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), CRL Commission and the Equality Court must act decisively and with urgency and stop the hatred which which is being spitted out by some. They need to take stern action against those individuals who cause religious and cultural divisions. We need protection and we need it now.
Early last year, I reported a number of individuals, during the height of the Valhalla Mosque Row to the CRL Commission for their Islamophobic comments on social media. They linked us to ISIS, Al Queda and Boko Haram.
Many months later, I am still waiting for a ruling. I also reported a CRL Commissioner. We are still waiting for a ruling! The delays are unacceptable.
The CRL Rights Commission is a constitutional body established in terms of the South African Constitution of 1996. Its constitutional mandate is to strengthen our constitutional democracy. But we need this Commission to act decisively to promote our religious, cultural and linguistic rights. We need them to be effective and I repeat: protect us. That’s what our Constitution dictates.
Social cohesion needs to be promoted at every turn. It is the responsibly to of every citizen to do their bit. The time has come for all of us to promote the philosophy of active citizenry. This means we have to all stand up for our rights and roll up our sleeves.
Recently, a young Cape Town woman was turned down from joining the South Africa Navy because she wears a Hijab. This is not right. It’s unacceptable. Individuals who want to exercise their religious obligations should be accommodated.
I remain hopeful that the Navy will review its decision and allow Muslims women such as Taskeen Ebrahim to wear her Hijab with pride. I know the MJC has taken up her plight and I hope we will succeed.
The so-called “Muslim Ban” by US President Donald Trump continues to draw attention and anger across the world. Trump, who clearly dislikes Mexicans and Muslims, is playing right into the hands of extremists. He is sadly giving them reason to continue carrying out acts of evil. We need bridges, not walls. We need love, not hate. Refugees seek refugee and shelter, not resentment or stigma. Trump is clearly xenophobic and we as South African Muslims join the world chorus to call on him to stop his madness. There is no place on our world for division and racism.
Let’s all continue to do our bit to make the world a better place. Let’s join hands and unite. Let’s work together to promote peace, goodwill and social cohesion. Let’s help those in need.
We have to unite. Our religious leaders must lead the way to fight social ills. Drugs, for example, are killing our people. Let’s use our podiums to inform and educate our congregations.
Crime is on the increase. It’s time for all of us to work together and reclaim our streets from the gangsters.
We need organizations like the MJC to use their wisdom to guide the jammatul Muslimeen on practical ways of applying what the former President of the MJC calls the “fiqh of citizenship.”
This is a powerful concept of teaching Muslims how to be responsible pro-active citizens. It instills social activism from an informed perspective. It promotes a Muslim citizenry aware of the power of influence and not just the influence of power. It helps in developing a caring, engaged Muslim citizenry using excellence to serve all of mankind. That is the practice of the seerah of our beloved Prophet (PBUH). That is the practice to profile our identity in a multi faith society. A practice to model the values of the Deen. A practice to advance our freedom in a culture fair way. It is time to “politicise our spirituality and spiritualise our politics” in a pro-active way.
Let’s promote intra-Muslim solidarity and economic development and support and empower our community with the life skills to walk with self assuredness as Muslims underpinned by humility.
Let me conclude by saying: All Muslims are not terrorists and extremists. We promote peace and we will continue to do so.
With kind regards
Cell 082 4414 203
A new multi-million rand state of the art library has opened it doors in Lansdowne Cape Town.
The Al Ikhlaas Academia Library and Resource Centre was officially opened by Deputy Education Minister Enver Surtee.
Social activist, Yusuf Abramjee, presented copies of his coffee table book #Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOnHajj to the library and to Surtee.
He said hundreds of copies would be donated to libraries across South Africa.
Abramjee announced that he and his publisher Yaseen Theba were looking at launching two new books in 2017- one on the Holy City of Makkah and another on Madinah.
“We will capture the sights and sounds of both cities: the Grand Mosque, Prophet’s Mosque, historical sites, market places, etc.
“We also looking to having the book in other languages including Arabic,” said Abramjee.
#Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOnHajj has over 400 photographs of this years pilgrimage.
Scores of books are being donated to libraries.
Proceeds of the sale of the book are going to charities Awqaf SA and Crescent Lifestyle.
*More on the library: call Dr Elias Parker, chairperson, on +27 (82) 4939331.
Photos: Sharief Jaffer