By Al Qalam Reporter
Moulana Yusuf Patel, Secretary General of The United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) has written a letter to the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) agreeing to support it and also become a partner in the National Open Day Mosque campaign for September 24 (Heritage Day).
In his letter to SAMNET, Moulana Patel said: “Recent events across the globe demonstrate the importance of reaching out ‘to the other’ in the hope of promoting healthy coexistence across the religious divide. The “Open Day” is also in fulfillment of a Quranic injunction that says: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” (16:125)
“As former South African president, Nelson Mandela said, “When our first democratically elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.
“In any multi-faith country, knowledge of self must include knowledge of our neighbours. Ignorance of each other has often been the cause of fear, suspicion and phobia,” Moulana Patel said.
SAMNET chairperson, Dr Faisal Suleman, told Al Qalam that the 2018 National Mosque Open Day campaign hosted over 800 participants across 20 mosques. Participants left the mosque with a better understanding of Islam, a sense of community and more accurate information and mutual understanding and respect that it brings.
The campaign held annually encourages Mosques to open their doors to the public simultaneously on Heritage Day.
“The aim is to ease tensions caused by negative media attention towards Muslims and Islam, build and strengthen relations with other religious groups, and encourage members of the public to get to know their local mosque,” he added.
The National Mosque Open Day programme entails “Meet and Greet; Masjid Tour; Explanation of prayer and ablution; Brief introduction to Islam and a Question and Answer session.