A costly legal challenge by an objecting group to stop the construction of a mosque in Knysna has failed, writes ISMAIL SUDER.
A three year battle to build a mosque in Knysna – amid a flurry of legal objections – has finally ended when the Cape High Court gave the Knysna Muslim Council approval to build the musjid as planned.
The news was met with great jubilation by the growing Muslim community of Knysna who gave thanks for their Duas being granted by the Almighty.
For over a decade, Muslims in the beautiful Garden Route town have been praying in a cramped mussalah, so when a prime property came up for sale in 2015, the community, jumped at the opportunity and purchase 1,277m2 piece of land near the town’s centre. The Knysna Municipality then awarded a rezoning application for the development the mosque. Everything was on track until residents of a neigbouring apartment block called 22 Rawson Street Body Corporate (and one other) objected to a mosque being erected, citing traffic congestion in their area.
The objectors filed an application in the Cape High Court against the Knysna Muslim Council – and the Knysna Municipality that granted the zoning licence.
The good news came when Judge Daniel Dlodlo ruled in favour of the Knysna Muslim Council.
An elated Omar Essa, chairman of the Knysna Muslim Council said they are now busy with submitting building plans for approval. The mosque will cost between R5-million and R10-million.
“Alhamdulillah! By the grace of Allah (swt) the applicants’ case against the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Muslim Council was dismissed with cost. The objectors have therefore failed in their attempt to stop the building of the first Masjid in Knysna.
“We sincerely hope and pray that they will not submit an appeal in what could only prove to be another exercise in futility. After all, the Honorable Judge Dlodlo has provided a 45-page thoroughly reasoned and diligently compiled ruling which would be difficult to argue against.
“With this lengthy distraction almost behind us, our next priority is to submit our building plans to the Municipality for approval. Remember that we were prevented from doing anything further on the project until the Court had made its decision. We have already met with our professional team who are currently finalising our plans for submission,” he said.
He thanked everyone for their support.
“Surely, this case has proven the power of du’aa and how Truth will always trump Falsehood. May Allah (swt) guide us and make the speedy project implementation successful, InshaAllah.”
Following an announcement that the community had won the case, a news website lit up with comments. One person called “Areyouseriouse” wrote: “Why must they use a loud speaker to push their religion? I do not want to hear it. It’s also our constitutional right to not want a religion forced on you!”
Muhammad Hussain Essa responded to him: “The calls to prayer are done internally (not on the loudspeaker) if it is found that the residents around the mosque who are not Muslim find it intolerant and inconvenient, the residents then have radio speakers in their homes to hear the call to prayer. This happens in many mosques around the country. This is done peacefully, there is always a way to compromise without resorting to hate speech. The intention of the mosque is to be a place of peaceful prayer, despite what the media portrays and the ignorant believe. The last thing we would want to do is to cause any infringements on the rights of others.”
Another called Prince Valiant remarked: “Just imagine the feeling when you have a red wine babelas and that wailing starts”.
The response to him came from MJM57o wrote: “Those of you moaning have shown your intolerance. Instead of being such miseries you should work on understanding other people’s viewpoints and culture. There is a Muslim person that has responded – very detailed and reasonable. But do you open your ears to hear? No! – you have a fixed idea about this and so you just continue with your prejudice.”