Active citizenry an Islamic duty

Muslims must come out in droves to protest with the masses to save South Africa from a downward spiral, says Professor ASLAM FATAAR.

As the voices of active citizenry grow louder in the call for President Jacob Zuma to resign, it is incumbent upon Muslims to join the restless masses in their quest for a corruption-free Government, says Professor Aslam Fataar of Stellenbosch University.

Fataar, who is a professor of education, said that the ongoing protests and marches are entirely against corruption at the highest level in the country citing the looting, racketeering and state capture that have been set in motion.

“They are a visceral reaction against patronage politics and state capture that are destroying our country,” he said.

In an opinion piece entitled: “Active citizenry required to save SA,” Fataar wrote that as Muslims, “We have to fight a principled fight to turn the country around, to make it fairer and just, for all who live in it.

“South Africa is a vibrant, noisy, and fractious democracy. It is the promissory note of our democracy, and the accompanying ideals of justice and equality that keep us in this contested political game.

Fataar said: “The Qur’an warns in Chapter 2, verses 12 and13, about the discourse and camouflage of those who are corrupt thus: When they are told; ‘Do not spread corruption in the land’, they respond by saying; ‘We are true social reformers’.  But in reality they are purveyors of corruption though they realise it not’”.

He said “State corruption and capture” were symbolic of the way the democratic path has been compromised. “And people are not stupid.  They figure out very quickly how to step in the breach, how to go on with their lives.

“We as Muslims (and other communities) must ask how we now intervene in our human drama.  Going with the flow, or opting out is not an option.

“The Prophet’s (s) advice to engage in mu’amalat (productive human relations) must take centre stage. Inserting exemplifying practices (‘amal-al-salihat) into the body politik is crucial.  We must continue to emphasise positive relationships in our workplaces and educational institutions.

“Our work colleagues, fellow students and friends are deserving of empathy, respect and decency.  Advancing their aspirations is as important as being concerned about our own.”


He pointed out that these protests are not pro-white, pro-DA, pro-white monopoly capital, or anti-radical transformation.  “Even if some of the marchers and protesters use vile and racist language, they are primarily aimed at calling attention to the moral corruption of a predatory state.

“The popular groundswell is enormously important.  Popular rejection is one small and powerful part of correcting our political path.  Work in our organisations and on the ground, and for example, lobbying for change in our electoral system must continue,” he added.

He said the groundswell we are seeing these days was a reminder of the powerful role of popular uprisings, marches, and pickets, across a broad range of people, during the collapse of apartheid in the late 1980s.

“One immediate small response from us is not to protect and support corruption and corrupt politicians.”

Meanwhile, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has expressed concern over the Kwa-Zulu Natal ANC Youth League’s display of intolerance at a memorial service held for anti-apartheid struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada in Durban recently.

The Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton said that the KZN youth league’s conduct was disrespectful to the memory of Kathrada. “Youth league members openly disregarded the Court order preventing them from disrupting proceedings following the urgent interdict sought by the ACM.”

Disrupting the ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize and former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s speeches simply points to the intolerance of youth league members. Drowning out people’s views simply because you may differ with them is reflective of undemocratic behaviour,” he added.

Al Qalam Correspondent, Shafiq Morton writes that Zuma “has plunged the country into crisis and the ANC, Africa’s proudest organisation, into a terminal decline.

“This is a president who cannot appear in public without being booed.


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