‘We are not terrorists’

2017-09-25 13:39

The Montrose and Cascades Muslim community are calling for residents to be accepting of their faith and understand their need to build a mosque in the area.

There has been an outcry from some residents following the recent approval by the city council to sell the municipal property to the Cascades Foundation Mussallah and Madrassah.

Speaking to The Witness, Moulana Ismail Vawda said he wanted the community to understand that this would be a place of worship and not a disruption to those living nearby.

“It is open to the public and is a place of safety to anyone, no matter their faith. People’s views on Muslims and our faith is sometimes warped. We are not terrorists and we are not here to take over the area,” Vawda said.

Msunduzi Municipality has been sitting on the Cascades Foundation’s application to purchase the vacant site on Francis Staniland Road for more than four years. The approval was eventually granted by the City’s executive committee recently.

Since the publication of that approval, The Witness received a number of calls from concerned residents asking whether the mosque would be “silent” and if the option for another entity to purchase the land had already passed.

Vawda said that he also fielded calls and e-mails from residents who raised concerns.

“If anything, this will be good for the area. I am happy to answer any questions from people that may have concerns because what we want to do is add value to this area,” he said.

The plans for the land include building a Musjid, which is a place of prayer, and a Madressah, which is an Islamic learning facility for young children.

Vawda said the plan to purchase both vacant properties was to accommodate on-site parking for those attending prayers and classes.

“We already have a traffic problem so we will not add to that. There is a growing Muslim community in the Cascades and Montrose area and frankly we do not have space to accommodate all those coming for prayer. We need a bigger premises,” he said.

Currently the Muslim men in the area attend prayers at a small Musjid in Linscott Road, but with the growing number of people, Vawda said that most often, men are forced to place their mats in the car park and conduct their prayers.

He said that the Musjid will not only cater for those 150 Muslim families living in the area but also for those who work in the Montrose and Cascades area­.

“There are many business and office parks that have come up and the people that work there also need a convenient place to pray on Fridays,” he said.

He added that the Azaan (call to prayer) is called out five times a day, but the foundation plans on using in-house radio systems and not the usual speaker on the building.

Vawda added that in the Muslim faith, they were obliged to assist anyone in need, saying that no matter the faith, residents from the community were welcome to approach the Musjid for any assistance.

“We want the community to be educated and not assume that this is for the worst.

“We are here to assist the community and we want a good relationship with everyone,” he said.

The Cascades Foundation are now waiting for the final approval to purchase the land by the City’s full council this week and will be moving on to the next process of rezoning the land to place of worship for town planning purposes.

Moulana Ismail Vawda asked that should anyone have questions or concerns, they can e-mail him on cascadesjk@telkomsa.net


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mosque

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