Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cape Christian and Muslim Spiritual Dynamics

Cape Christian and Muslim Spiritual Dynamics in the second half of the 20th Century

Comenius, a Moravian-Bohemian bishop of the Old Unitas Fratrum, to which the denomination owes its beginnings, suggested that believers should erect signs, which would usher in the coming Kingdom of our Lord. Such signs become especially valid if one does not see any immediate fruit of one’s actions. I have been hoping and praying that our conference here might have ramifications in the sense of erecting such signs. I am especially thinking of the ever widening God-dishonouring gap between the rich and the poor and the problem of drug abuse/addiction around the world. Along with HIV/AIDS, these are issues which should be tackled and addressed in a concerted way.
I take liberty to note that signs in this vein have been erected at the Cape, which had a vast impact – in the case of slavery even worldwide. I think here of the missionary pioneers Georg Schmidt, Dr Johannes van der Kemp and Dr John Philip, who braved tremendous opposition as they fought on behalf of the underdogs, the slaves and Khoi. I also recall the fight for a just and humane society in our country, in which Cape Muslims and Christians played a significant role, often going against the grain of the respective religious constituencies.

I suggest that South African Christians and Muslims erect signs to usher in the reign of the biblical Messiah, taking into account that some confession will have to be done en route.

1. Factors for 20th century Islamic expansion at the Cape

1.1. Occult cultural elements
Occult elements were linked to the graves of Muslim saints on authority of no less than the Holy Prophet of Islam himself, e.g. that ‘the grave of a Wali is unlike that of an ordinary person. Their bodies do not decay or perish, but remain intact and fresh’ (Guide to the Kramats of the Western Cape, 1996:12). In general, Cape Muslims never doubted that supernatural powers were operating at the shrines. However, the Islamic community is divided on the value of prayers at these shrines.
Cape Islamic theologians took the occult influences for granted in the religion’s expansion. After having had interviews with Islamic spiritual healers Shaykh Ahmed Mukadam (1990:??) noted that all ‘enjoyed an extra-terrestrial communication with Jinns … and … souls of departed saints’ Supernatural roots are regarded as a major force in the establishment of Cape Islam, notably via Sufism in Indonesia from the early Cape religious convicts.

1.2. Sufism, a powerful force
Dr Gerrie Lubbe gave special recognition to Sufism when he claimed: ‘it was mainly due to the presence of the Sheiks of Tasawwuw’ (Sufism) that Islam was initially established’ (Lubbe, Robben Island: The early years of Muslim Resistance, Kronos, 12, 1987 p.54). Professor Yusuf da Costa, Rector of the Gatesville Islamic College, verbalised the issue: ‘The orders, binding together individuals under a supernatural bond, were themselves a social power’ (1989:50).
The link via the Sufi orders or tariqa’s (brotherhoods) and the inherent ancestor worship brought success for the Muslims in North Africa in the fight against Communism. It is not surprising that the Black townships of South Africa became fertile fields for Islam. Aided and accompanied by high unemployment, mosques can be found throughout the new South Africa. A big mosque was opened in Khayelitsha in 1994.

1.3. Bo-Kaap as a unifying factor for Muslim Culture
That the shrines of the Tana Baru cemetery in Bo-Kaap could have played a role in the retention of the area for Muslims cannot be empirically proved, but the ideologically tainted controversial contribution of Dr I.D. Du Plessis, an UCT academic, in his love and protection of the residential area, is undisputed. Bo-Kaap’s role in the preservation of Muslim Culture within a pressing Christian presence can hardly be underestimated. District Six and Bo-Kaap together formed the cradle of Islam in the Western Cape.
By 1865 about a quarter of the people in Bo-Kaap were Muslims. The increase of Muslims to the area was closely linked to the construction of several mosques in the area after 1840.
The suburb got a predominant Muslim population after the implementation of Group Areas legislation. Some Christians who lived there embraced Islam to qualify to reside in Bo-Kaap. The suburb remained a stronghold of Islam in the Western Cape until the present day.

1.4. Cultural ripple effects from the Cape
Cape Islam influenced other parts of the country in many ways. Culturally quite a few organisations could be enumerated. The Cape was in many ways the country’s advance guard of Islamic Education. Muslim Mission schools existed in Claremont, District Six and Salt River for many decades. In 1975 Arabic was offered as a subject at the University of the Western Cape, growing into a fully-fledged department in 1984. In that year the Habibiya Islamic College opened in Rylands Estate, the first privately run Muslim-controlled secondary school in the country. In 1990 the Islamic College of Southern Africa came into being in nearby Gatesville.
On May 7, 1961 a few hundred Muslims gathered in the Cape Town City Hall to launch the Call of Islam. This umbrella body of different Muslim organisations had the aim of opposing the Group Areas Act. Started by Imam Abdullah Haron, the Call of Islam was revived in 1984 in the Cape. It regrouped when the MJC stepped down as an affiliate of the United Democratic Front (UDF). Leading members were Imam Hassan Solomon and Ebrahim Rasool. In 1986 the Government restricted the activities of the Call of Islam.
The Civic Centre of the Cape township Hanover Park was the venue of the first ever National Muslim Conference from 4-6 May 1990, which attracted leading Muslims from all walks of life. The conference – convened by the Call of Islam - attracted some 600 delegates from different organisations all over the country. Generally the conference is viewed as a ‘historical watershed … in the struggle of South African Muslims’ (Mahida, 1993:143).

1.5. The legalization of racial separation
When the Nationalist government took over the reins in 1948, it soon became clear that people of colour – including the ‘Malays’- would be harshly discriminated against. The governments on both the central and provincial level came almost exclusively from the three Afrikaans churches from 1948-1994. Thus the apartheid legislation that streamed from the statute books was perceived by many as the result of ‘Christian government’. Greyling (1974: 258) refers in this regard to ‘Die beeld wat daar by die Kleurlinge ontstaan het van die gemoeidheid van die Afrikaanse Kerke met die beleid van rasseskeiding.’ In fact, he says - and it should not be difficult to prove - that the frustrations of the broader ‘Coloured’ community ‘... het daartoe gelei dat Kleurlinge na die Islam oorgegaan het.’

1.5.1 Bo-Kaap and District Six become predominantly Islamic
After the Group Areas Act had been passed by parliament in 1950, many Coloured communities living around Cape Town Central were destroyed. In 1961 large areas of the city were declared ‘White’ group areas. This resulted in many Coloureds moving into slum-like District Six. Many Christians, who did not know anything about Islam before, now got to know Muslims.
A major uproar followed the declaration of 11 February 1966 that District Six was to become a ‘White’ residential area as part of the implementation of the notorious legislation. This ultimately turned the suburb into another Muslim stronghold. Jews had left District Six well before 1966. Christians were the next to leave in droves, allowing their churches to be bulldozed, without rendering much opposition. The possibility of the three Abrahamic religions working together in some form as a sign pointing to the reign of the coming Messiah was gone.
Only in the mid 1970s Father Basil van Rensburg of the District Six Holy Cross Catholic Church and Reverend Karel August of the Moravian Church spearheaded Christian opposition to the government moves. The seed of the fallacy was sown that die Ses had been Islamic all along. The opposition to the District Six declaration reverberated till well into the 1980s. This helped prevent the government from carrying out their plans to demolish Bo-Kaap, which was deceptively called the ‘Malay Quarter’. In District Six the Muslims stuck to their guns, not permitting anybody to raze their sacred buildings to the ground. They remained there longer, so that the percentage Muslims increased significantly.

1.5.2. The spread of Islam to the new townships
Group Areas legislation contributed more to the regional spread of Islam at the Cape than any other factor. When the residents of District Six were evicted in the 1970s, it was like the starting signal for the spread of Islam throughout the Peninsula. Mosques were built in almost all the new townships. At the same time, former so-called ‘Christian areas’ like Bridgetown and Lansdowne became Islamised. Surprisingly, the vicious law did not supply a rallying point against the so-called Christian government. The clampdown of the government on political resistance and repression in the 1960s caused a general indifference. By the end of the 1970s there were already significant Muslim communities throughout the Western Cape. In parts of Athlone, notably Surrey Estate and Rylands Estate, a sizeable Muslim population developed.
The apartheid ideology was thus advantageous to Islam in the City in more than one way: a) Christians who got involved in evangelism skipped Muslim homes, because the ‘Malays’ were ideologically considered to have their own religion; b) The entire Bo-Kaap was declared a residential area for ‘Malays’ as early as 1952 (Mahida, 1993:75). By 1990 the Bo-Kaap had become a Muslim stronghold without its equal anywhere in the country.

1.6. Apartheid gave Islam martyrs
Apartheid legislation gave Islam new martyrs. The most well-known was Imam Abdullah Haron, who died while he was in police custody. Haron became imam of the relatively unknown Stegman Road mosque in Claremont early in his career. He was quite revolutionary when he encouraged the youth to participate in the activities of the mosque, even giving them opportunities to officiate at birth, marriage and funeral ceremonies. Haron and some Muslim mission school teachers formed the Claremont Muslim Youth Association in 1958.Young radicals now performed religious duties that had been the exclusive preserve of the imams and the shaykhs. The meteoric rise of the relatively young Haron was starkly demonstrated in his election as president of the Muslim Judicial Council in 1959.
The watershed in Haron’s life came in 1960. Haron continued to pray and agonize because the prospect of bloodshed did not appeal to him. In the run-up and aftermath of the Sharpeville massacre - when the police brutally killed 69 protesters - his mind was made up for him.
Haron’s activities went just a little bit too far for the apartheid government when he addressed African National Congress (ANC) and Pan African Congress (PAC) delegates in Cairo in 1968. After his return to Cape Town, he was constantly harassed and hounded by security police until he was finally arrested in May 1969 and held incommunicado for 123 days until he died on 27 September 1969.
The mysterious death of Imam Haron while in police custody brought an Anglican priest, the Reverend Bernard Wrankmore, to lodge his protest. He fasted for many days at the shrine near to Lion’s Head, calling on Prime Minister Vorster to install a judicial inquiry into the death of the Muslim priest. His protest action did not bring the required result, but it did much to raise the self-esteem of the Muslims.

1.7. Spread of Progressive Islam
The Cape Muslim Youth Movement (CMYM) was founded in Cape Town in 1957. The CMYM played a significant role in creating political awareness amongst the Muslims. The national Muslim Youth Movement (MYM), which was started in 1970, became an important vehicle for the spread of Islam, operating in tandem with Ahmed Deedat’s propagation centre. By 1974 the MYM felt that ‘Black’ and women speakers should be invited specifically to address the South African Muslims. In those days that was quite a revolutionary notion. The MYM persevered, getting Fatima Heeran, a Muslim convert from Germany, to address their convention in 1976.
During 1974-6 a more structured strategy emerged which ‘facilitated the exposure of the modern Islamic paradigm in the country’ after 1978 (Tayob, 1995:110). Initially the MYM’s position was not anti-apartheid although the political situation in the country was discussed occasionally. Like the Muslim Assembly in the Cape, it refrained from getting involved in any anti-apartheid campaign till 1977.
Enlightened and progressive Islam spurns the religious forms and patterns that do not conform to its ideals. It is ‘uneasy with the presence of magic and superstition prevalent in Islamic society. These were attributed to the effects of a degenerate Sufism, which ... was believed to have contaminated Islam’ (Tayob, 1995:33).

1.8. Propagation of Islam as a way of life
More prominent was the MYM propagation of Islam as a ‘way of life’, to cover all facets of life. The MYM identified the organisation of zakat (giving of alms to the poor) as something to be tackled. In due course this Islamic pillar was turned ‘from a personal duty of conscience into a social obligation’ (Tayob, 1995:121). The theme of unity, especially the MYM support for the participation of women and ‘Blacks’, extended the scope of Islamic practice in South Africa.
The second phase of the MYM started in December 1977 when a Leadership Training Programme was held at As-Salaam in Natal, a site linked to Ahmed Deedat’s Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI). Abdul Rashied Omar, Yusuf da Costa and Achmat Cassiem from the Cape were new recruits. The MYM hereafter bred anti-apartheid activists, who were involved in the student revolts in the Cape. Cassiem went on to start Qibla in May 1981. This now became a radical group in support of the Iranian revolution under Khomeini in Iran. Camps were organised in various towns to teach the basic ideology of the MYM. Study circles (halaqat) replaced the branches, including in their programme an analysis of Islamic resurgent literature.
Quite a few Arab states such as the Emirates ploughed substantial amounts into the coffers of the IPCI and the missionary Dawah Movement. At the Cape the Mustadafin Foundation with its premises in Athlone has been active in welfare work. The MYM and the Call of Islam is said to have started consider ‘other approaches to weave Islam into the social fabric of South Africa as a more significant way of making the Muslims’ presence conspicuous’ (Wikipedia website article Islam in South Africa).

1.9. Interference by the authorities
The Cape Town City Council played with fire when they made public their intention to construct a freeway through the Tana Baru Cemetery in 1972. The Cape Muslims opposed the desecration of the cemetery vigorously (Mahida, 1993:104). Fortunately the Muslim delegation got a sympathetic hearing and support from Mr Vosloo, the Administrator of the Cape Province. The proposed freeway was finally dropped.
Indirectly, the propagandistic abuse of the state radio (SABC) gave Islam another fillip. The slur on Ayatollah Khomeini by the media at the end of the 1970s made a martyr of him in Muslims’ eyes. Because the government was seen as the oppressor, the aggressive stance of the Ayatollah was a boon for assertive Islam. The resurgence of political resistance in the 1980s coincided with hopes for religious ‘revival’. Typical was the graffiti slogan on a wall on Yusuf Drive in Bo-Kaap: ‘The only solution - Islamic revolution!’
The ideology of the MYM was threatened first by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and then by apartheid’s tri-cameral system plus the continuing opposition of the ‘ulama, the Muslim clergy. Abdul Rashied Omar and Mawlana Ebrahim Moosa, the new MYM director, spoke at mosques throughout the country, to argue against voting for the tri-cameral parliamentary system. The apartheid government ushered in its own demise when Dr Allan Boesak was imprisoned together with people like Mawlana Farid Esack. The latter became known as an Islamic liberal theologian. Working together with people from other religions was by no means easy.
The repression made the United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders instant heroes. Islam got a boost countrywide after 1984 when Dr Allan Boesak and the lawyer Dullah Omar were seen together on platforms of the UDF. In the marches organised in opposition to the government, imams were prominently seen on TV next to Christian clergymen.

1.10. Influences from National Developments
The Muslim Youth Movement changed course, emphasizing contextualisation. A new focus dubbed the ‘High Public Profile’ placed the MYM back on public platforms. Young Muslims regarded the withdrawal of the Muslim Judicial Council from the UDF as reactionary. This was more than cancelled out by the impression that was spread at this time that Islam and Christianity were equals, that God and Allah were almost identical. Marriages between Christians and Muslims spiralled, with the Christian component invariably ‘embracing’ Islam.
Islam got another major push through the first ANC government under President Mandela after their election victory of 1994. The new regime was perceived to be favourable to Islam, enabling Muslims in the country to get in line with the continental strategy, as stated at the Islamic conference in the Nigerian city of Abuja in 1987. There it was decided that Muslims should strive to get into strategic positions of government of all African countries. A similar conference in October 1995 resolved in Tripoli, and publicized country-wide in South Africa in the Sunday Times, that the developed South African infrastructure was to be utilized to islamise the continent from the South. The governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have generously contributed to the building of mosques and other efforts to promote Islam and realise the goal.
The media attention of the visit of the ‘Black Muslim’ American Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam in February 1996, seen with President Nelson Mandela on TV, contributed much to the acceptance of the religion by ‘Blacks’. The researcher Michael Mumisa asserts that the radical views of Malcom X ‘is very evident among South African Muslims of all races’ (cited in Wikipedia, website article Islam in South Africa but no empiric or other proof of this assumption is given.
The perception that the new government was favouring Islam was at the same time the sign for Cape Jews to leave. The increase of hate-filled anti-Israeli demonstrations was for many the sure danger signal. Two synagogues in Vredehoek closed their doors and the one in Maitland became a New Apostolic Church. For the second time meaningful dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions was given a massive blow (Superficial Inter-Faith events continued, in which also the Bahai Faith and Hindu’s participated).

1.11. The ‘contribution’ of Gangsters and Drug lords
The dislocation of the ‘Coloured’ communities through Group Areas legislation brought with it a major problem. As people were uprooted from stable residential areas, gangsterism spiralled in the new townships. The leadership of these gangs were often in the hands of Muslims. They not only collected ‘protection money’, but they also used all sorts of illegal ways of earning quick money like trading in dagga, extortion, buying and selling of stolen goods, and gambling. ‘Smokkelhuise’ where alcohol is sold illegally - known at the Cape as ‘shebeens’ – is part of the subculture. From a religious point of view this was frowned upon by the Muslim community, but hardly condemned out of hand. The customers were predominantly Christians, who constituted the bulk of the population of District Six till the 1970s.
Already in early 1971 the Muslim News wrote in alarming terms of the drug menace. The paper refers to press reports indicating that people with Muslim names ‘are becoming increasingly associated with crimes’ (Muslim News, 11 January 1971). Muslims have traditionally led the drug scene, just like they have been doing in gangsterism.
The spread of Islam through gangsterism was spurious to say the least, not something of which the Cape Muslim Community was proud. Word went around that the ‘doekoems’, Muslim sorcerers, could help criminals to get lighter sentences and even dubious acquittals.
Police connivance with the gangsters and drug dealers created an immense problem when guns and drugs were ‘recycled­‘. The move by the gangsters was a shrewd move of double dealing because they also had contacts to leading people in the PAC and ANC. The distribution of drugs was abused to make the country ungovernable, the preferred strategy used to topple the apartheid regime. The gangsters and drug dealers very often over-lapped, but the drug lords also included respected businessmen with international connec­tions. By the mid-1990s the situation had become almost anarchic in certain townships.
2. Unwitting assistance to Islam by Christians

In various ways Cape Islam was ironically also spread by ecclesiastical or missiological influences in the latter part of the 20th century.

2.1. Bad (or expedient) missiological Strategy
The ideology of apartheid had strong support in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) through distorted exposition of the Bible. The enforcement of this wrong ideology enhanced the spread of Islam as it gave a religious backing to the government. Added to this was the effect of a well-meant rational Protestant Theology, which resulted in a haughty arrogant view of Islam.
The well known Dr I.D. Du Plessis was evidently quite aware of the doubtful origins of the special powers of the ‘doekoems’ (Muslim sorcerers, practitioners of white magic). That doekoems could get special powers at the shrines and at cemeteries has made the whole matter suspect to the honest Muslim seeker of truth. Du Plessis apparently never criticised these practices. This smacks of some convenient expediency.
In Christian circles there has been general ignorance of occult influences, but also arrogant indifference.

2.2. Lack of church support
Dominee (Reverend) Davie Pypers had a public debate with Imam Ahmed Deedat on 13 August 1961 in a sports stadium, the Green Point Track. The event appeared to have resulted in a ‘victory’ for the Cross, when a chronically ill patient was miraculously healed in the name of the resurrected Lord. Many Muslims were deeply moved. Instead of being supported, Reverend Pypers was however attacked and criticised by leading members of his denomination.
Similarly, it was commendable that Reverend Wrankmore called for an inquiry into the death of Imam Haron in police custody in September 1969. He opted for the spiritual weapons of prayer and fasting, so that injustice would be exposed and ended. His church authorities probably feared getting too involved with the politics of the day. They refused him permission to fast and pray in St George's Cathedral. The Muslims allowed him to use the big Kramat (shrine) near Lion’s Head as a venue.

2.2.1. A serious mistake
When the above-mentioned debate with Ahmed Deedat took place, a booklet containing the testimony of a convert from Islam entitled, The Hadji Abdullah ben Yussuf; or the story of a Malay as told by himself in an Afrikaans translation was distributed at the exits of the Green Point Track. In hindsight we can say that this was a well-intended but unwise move, which caused much criticism, thus undermining the gospel presentation. Actually the booklet is quite unfortunate and insensitive, referring negatively to the Qur’an and the founder of Islam.
The Muslim community was enraged by this re-publication of the 19th century pamphlet. The perceived defeat of Ahmed Deedat and thus of the Muslims at Green Point, called for revenge. Deedat stated publicly that the original motivation for his public debates was his humiliation at the hand of Christians. Five weeks later, on 17 September 1961, another mass rally was organised at the Green Point Track. 20 000 Muslims attended the event, which accepted ‘unanimously’ a strongly worded declaration, in which the Dutch Reformed Church was accused of disregarding the basic Christian tenets of love and tolerance.

2.2.2 Disloyal criticism by church officials
Almost just as bad was in fact that Pypers was fiercely criticized by his church officials because he undertook the confrontation without getting prior synod approval. The Bo-Kaap dominee was out on a limb in the Dutch Reformed Church. Furthermore, his denominational leadership pointed to a common Protestant interpretation of Divine healing, viz. that it ceased in biblical times.

2.3. Indifference of churches
In the mid 1970s the missionary effort to the Muslims at the Cape was revived through the pioneering work of Gerhard and Hannelore Nehls, who laboured hard for many years without seeing much in terms of fruit or local recognition. Gerhard Nehls started with regular outreach to Muslims in Salt River in 1980, later calling his work Life Challenge. Support from the Cape churches for missionary outreach to Muslims was almost non-existent at the time. In fact, the churches were rather indifferent to Muslim Outreach in general. Even denominations, which were very much involved in evangelism like the Docks Mission and the City Mission, had little vision for the Muslims on their door-step.
Suburbs like Woodstock and Salt River became increasingly Islamic, among other factors also because of this indifference. Prostitution, drug abuse and the sale of houses to Muslims that had been the tenants were however the major influences which pushed many Christians out of these areas during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Rev. Paul Manne, an Indian with Buddhist and Hindu roots, was ministering to Hindu’s when Gerhard Nehls staged a seven-week seminar in Mitchells Plain in 1981. Manne hereafter started working as a Muslim co-worker with the Life Challenge team of Gerhard Nehls, operating in the (then) new ‘Coloured’ townships of Lentegeur and Westridge.
Very significant was the linking of Life Challenge with other missionary work among Muslims. In 1982 the umbrella organisation CCM (Christian Concern for Muslims) was established, which held annual conferences for all co-workers. Gerhard Nehls became God’s instrument for the recruitment of a string of German-speaking missionaries in the 1980s and 1990s. Life Challenge and the outreach from the Dutch Reformed Church seemed to co-operate quite well, especially while Ds Chris Greyling was still the Sendingkerk man. In practical terms this denomination delegated its responsibility for Muslim Outreach to Rev. Paul Manne and his team.
In the 1990s missionaries from many countries joined the Muslim Outreach at the Cape. However, even the combined force hardly made an impact because of the indifference of local churches. But they kept the consciences of those churches alive, which did not get on the inter-faith bandwagon with regard to a missionary duty to the Cape Muslims.

2.3.1. Impact on non-Christian religions
The biggest impact on non-Christian religions happened by chance, such as in Cape commuter trains. Many a Muslim was for example challenged in commuter trains, even though the preaching done there was not always sensitive. Train preachers indirectly impacted the city in a big way. Many a convert from Islam attributes these challenges as an important catalyst in their decision to follow Jesus. The Salvation Army, along with Pentecostal evangelists like James Valentine and George Mc Gregor, held open-air services on the Grand Parade, attended by good crowds. Because Valentine had been a gangster, this initially created quite a stir and consequently a lot of interest. Muslims hardly had a problem to attend these and the lunchtime sermons on the Parade during weekdays.
Even in the traditional ‘Malay Quarter’ evangelistic outreach was taking place, such as a Wayside Sunday School in Helliger Street by the Baptists and in Chiappinni Street with Pastor Gay. Pastor Gay, a tireless Scottish missionary, laboured in Bo-Kaap and District Six until the 1990s, not without success until his death in the early 1990s. Open-air services were also held in Bo-Kaap, for example under a lamppost in Chiapinni Street by the local Docks Mission fellowship.

2.4. Apartheid as cancer
Ds Chris Greyling was appointed as the first mission organizer of the ‘Sendingkerk’ with a special charge to reach out to the Muslims. The opposition to apartheid seemed to have become the major cause to pursue, operating as cancer in the denomination. The perception was created that their outreach to the Muslims had stopped. The evangelistic zeal of members diminished greatly.
The report of a commission brought to the Dutch Reformed Church Synod by Dr Dion Crafford, was reported quite inaccurately in the media. The report stated amongst other things that ‘Islam word aangegryp as ‘n bondgenoot in die heilige stryd teen apartheid’ (DRC Mission Commission on Islam report, 1986:311), noting that Islam already booked success among ‘Blacks’ after the 1976 uprising. It sounded so credible when the Natal pamphlet of the Muslim Youth Movement suggested that the government was trying to drive a wedge between Muslims and Christians through the DRC (Tayob, 1995:163). The divide and rule tactics of the National Party government were well known.
In actual fact, the report of the mission commission was a well-balanced document, albeit that it included a few factual mistakes. It contained a veiled critique of apartheid. ‘Islam met hulle beklemtoning van eenheid, broederskap en gelykheid daag Christene uit om hulle eie opvatting oor hierdie sake uit te leef. Hulle teer op die beskuldigings dat Christene rassisme, diskriminasie en apartheid duld, goedpraat en selfs bevorder...’ (p.313). The terminology at the 1986 DRC General Synod however included ingredients which were apt to bring Muslim emotions to boiling point, notably the motion tabled by an army chaplain.
The Islamic response was somewhat one-sided, not taking note of the decisions of other church conferences and synods which were in session at the same time, like the one at Belhar, and which were quite radical with regard to opposition to apartheid.
Yet, Mumisa’s assertion is probably correct that the increase in the number of Blacks, particularly women and youth in the late 1980s, was due to ‘a radical rejection of a society based on Christian principles.’

2.5. Christian Indifference and Haughtiness
Knowledge about the roots of Islam in heretical Christianity has been known in the circle of insiders for decades. But this has somehow not been passed on in loving or accessible ways which could have led to significant liberation from religious bondage. Fear, indifference, materialism or an arrogant and haughty attitude appear to have played a combined role. Furthermore, large areas of Christianity are still firmly in the grip of chains of traditionalism.
Vivienne Stacey seems to have been one of the first Christian theologians worldwide to point to the connection between Sufism and occult bondage. Bill Musk, who completed his doctorate at the University of South Africa, became an expert on Folk Islam. He pointed out very conclusively how millions were kept in bondage through it. Shaykh Ahmed Mukadam, discerned correctly Musk’s missionary interest, suggesting that behind Musk’s effort was an attempt ‘to colonize peoples through powers of religion’ (1990:7). However, Mukadam apparently does not understand the true nature of the Gospel. The reason for Musk’s endeavour - which ideally should be the motivation of any Christian missionary - is obviously to liberate and not to enslave. Faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus is able to liberate people from every form of bondage (cf. John 8:31-38).

2.6. A tendency towards independence
A problem with much of the missionary outreach and evangelism was a false tendency towards independence. For decades churches and mission agencies worked next to each other. Sometimes they even operated in competition to each other. This was repented of at the Global Consultation of World Evangelization (GCOWE) in Pretoria in July 1997, but it has still not been eradicated.
In the actual outreach, there was very little networking, with the fear of a Muslim backlash playing a role. There was however significant networking after the translation of an Afrikaans booklet Op soek na waarheid, stories of converts from Islam at the Cape in 1995 as Search for Truth. This was also the case with the publication of testimony tracts narrating how believers came out of Islam. These publications eroded a prevalent Cape Muslim notion, the earlier belief that if one is born a Muslim, one must die one.
In another networking venture of note, Trans World Radio helped to implement the vision of Gerhard Nehls, a missionary pioneer among the Cape Muslims. A video series called Battle of the Hearts, was soon produced and used all over the world.

3. Christian reactions to Islamic Expansion

Some factors, which initially led to Islamic expansion at the Cape called forth significant responses.

3.1 Marriages to Muslims as a Catalyst for Outreach
For centuries marriage has been one of the major growth points of Islam with the Christian party invariably turning to Islam. This led to embitterment and hatred among Christians but also here and there to a response of some sort.
The first known appointment of a person of colour to full-time outreach to Muslims occurred after one of Rev. (later Bishop) Schwarz’s parishioners had become pregnant by a Muslim patient at the Brooklyn Chest hospital.
In the case of pregnancies with Muslim fathering, a common reaction in the churches was a rigid legalism. Loving understanding and assistance was the exception. In the process church members and adherents were driven away and gladly welcomed in Islamic ranks.
‘Sendingkerk’ Evangelist Izak van der Vyver, who operated in Philippi, was very sad when one of their church workers, trained as a social worker, married a Muslim in May 1974. The main strategy of Van der Vyver and Ds Chris Greyling, his minister, was the training of church members, empowering them to reach out to their peers in schools, neighbourhoods and factories. Apart from the occasional outreach to Muslims, the emphasis was on warning their church members against marriage with Muslims, especially those who were ignorant of the consequences. The other facet of their work was winning back those who had become disillusioned. A ‘getuienis-aksie’ team from the Lentegeur congregation of the Sendingkerk started advising many young girls who had become pregnant by Muslim men. Their efforts were often crowned with success when the young women discovered that the church did not completely condemn them.

3.2. The moral breakdown of communities
Sexual immorality, alcoholism and drug abuse increased significantly in the communities uprooted by Group Areas legislation. Alcoholism had already been a major problem in the traditional Cape ‘Coloured’ society. Drug abuse and teenage pregnancies were soon added as new social evils. The church pastors - who were going through the trauma of the removals themselves - became helpless spectators when their young female congregants fell pregnant to Muslims and consequently married the fathers of their babies.
The Muslim parts of the communities were also affected when their adherents - because alcohol is forbidden by their religion - turned to drugs in a big way. The moral fibre of the communities was increasingly eroded. This became especially evident in unacceptable sexual behaviour. Adultery and infidelity by religious leaders became common place. In the late 1990s two consecutive mayors of the metropolis with evangelical links - one a pastor - got embroiled in sexual immorality and corruption.
Apart from the enforced marriages to which we have already referred, there was another subtle way by which Islamising also took place. Christian domestic servants were brought in from the countryside. Some of the vulnerable domestics became Muslims under duress, often unknown to anyone in the city and thus without recourse in terms of complaints.

3.3. Prayer used in Evangelism
From oral reports of Life Challenge workers of yesteryear, the ministry was accompanied from the start by an emphasis on prayer. For many years Muslim Outreach at the Cape and SIM Life Challenge were almost synonymous. The mission agency had an annual prayer initiative during Ramadan when they usually stopped their actual door-to door weekly outreach for that period. This practice waned in January 1998 when Ramadan coincided with the summer holidays.
WEC missionaries who came to the Cape in 1992, likewise emphasised prayer. Regular meetings focused prayer on the prime Muslim stronghold of Bo-Kaap. The weekly Friday lunch hour prayer meeting that was started in September 1992 was initially mooted by Achmed Kariem, a convert from Islam, who had attended fortnightly prayer meetings in the home of the widow of a Muslim background believer from Wale Street in Bo-Kaap. The Friday lunchtime prayer itself became a catalyst for many evangelistic initiatives.

3.3.1. Strategic Prayer
The first big move of united prayer in the 1990s by Christians at the Cape centred around the Jesus Marches. Probably for the first time Christians started to pray concertedly against the occult power of the Kramats, the Islamic shrines on the heights of the Cape Peninsula. The idea was launched to create little prayer cells to pray for Cape Muslims.
The link to the countrywide prayer movement was forged in October 1994. Local Christians joined Ds. Bennie Mostert for prayer at the Kramat (shrine) of Shaykh Yusuf in Macassar. Bennie Mostert was also God’s instrument to distribute thousands of prayer booklets called 30-day Muslim Prayer Focus. The booklets guided Christians to pray for Muslims on a daily basis during Ramadan. The connection to the countrywide movement was strengthened when Gerda Leithgöb, the leader of Herald Ministries, was invited as the guest speaker for a prayer seminar in Rylands Estate in January 1995, which focused on Islam.
International intercession began in earnest with the identification of the 10/40 Window. (The predominantly Asian and African countries are situated between the 10th and 40th degree lines of latitude of the northern hemisphere.) The initiative, which gave a geographical focus to prayer, was passed on by Luis Bush, an American prayer leader. It was also used by Peter Wagner, a compatriot, to rally the evangelical world in united prayer for the people groups that were unreached by the Gospel.
Muslim strongholds were included in prayer drives that were launched by intercessors from different churches on the last Friday of every month in 1996. A feature of the leadership of this movement was the inclusion of ex-gangsters who had become pastors. The interest in Muslims at the monthly prayer events of Cape Peninsula pastors and their wives was enhanced when Mark Gabriel, an Egyptian refugee, who had fled religious persecution, visited the group.
At the occasion of the sending of prayer teams to different spiritual strongholds in 1997, a team from the Dutch Reformed Church Suikerbosrand from Heidelberg (Gauteng) followed the NUPSA nudge to come and pray in the Mother City. That the former Afrikaanse Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) town, belonging to the Transvaal Province of the old South Africa, was sending a prayer team to pray for the Muslim stronghold of Bo-Kaap, might have hit the headlines had it been publicised! But all this was secret stuff in 1997. It was the era when People against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) was terrorising the Cape Peninsula.
As part of this visit from Gauteng, a prayer meeting of confession was organized on November 1, 1997 in District Six, in front of the former Moravian Church. The citywide prayer movement received a major push when Eben Swart was asked to lead the District Six prayer occasion. His position as Western Cape Prayer coordinator was cemented when he linked up with the pastors’ and pastors’ wives prayer meeting. Regular monthly prayer walks were attended from 1998 by believers from as far afield as Melkbosstrand and Eendekuil.
3.3.2 Impact of Cape converts from Islam
In the spiritual realm the prayer event at the Kramat (shrine) of Shaykh Yusuf in October 1994 appears to have been a watershed event. In the years before October 1994 many Muslims who came to faith in Christ either returned to their former religion or remained secret believers. Hereafter however, believers like Esme Orrie and Johaar Viljoen fearlessly shared their testimonies in churches all over the Western Cape and via the Christian radio stations, in spite of threats and intense persecution. The supernatural conversion in July 1998 of Zulpha Morris from Mitchells Plain and her subsequent testimony was to impact the whole Peninsula. A ministry of compassion to abused women and abandoned children made her a household name in Cape townships because of media exposure. Attempts to slander her backfired.

3.4. Reaction to the Drug and Gangster Scourge
In the 1980s there was an undisputed growth of Islam among gangsters, among other things due to the occult aid via doekums and through the illegal distribution of drugs. In 1992 the criminality and violence in the township Hanover Park got completely out of hand. A police sergeant approached various local churches about the situation in the township. The ensuing Operation Hanover Park was a combined church effort which succeeded to some extent to arrest the violence and crime in that township.
Gangsters made conditions in the township of Manenberg in 1995/6 almost unbearable for the local residents. A group of ten concerned friends started the group PAGAD, joined by Father Chris Clohessy, the local Roman Catholic priest, who had earned the trust of among others the (in)famous Staggie brothers as he seemed to move around fearlessly in gangster territory. After several successful community meetings in which the number of the adherents of drug abusers escalated rapidly, PAGAD invited religious leaders of all denominations to become involved. In the following months there was a series of PAGAD marches, during which the houses and cars of drug dealers and gangsters were damaged. Although some Christians joined initially, PAGAD evolved into a predominantly Muslim organization. Militant members of the group with surmised links to radical movements of the Middle East high jacked PAGAD. When it became increasingly known that Achmat Cassiem, the leader of Qibla, had infiltrated the vigilante organisation with an agenda of his own to islamise the Western Cape, the position of Christians in the organisation became untenable.
The new militancy of the movement got wide media attention when Rashaad Staggie, co-leader of the Hard Livings gang, was ‘executed’, set alight on 4 August 1996 in front of television cameras. Hereafter PAGAD started killing one gang leader after the other. The gang leaders had little option than to re-organise themselves in self-defence. The clash of PAGAD with the gangsters after August 1996 caused a major upheaval in Muslim Communities throughout the Cape Peninsula, and even in other parts of the coun­try.

3.5. Ex-gangster Pastors take the lead
In another scenario, the country was clearly moving towards the precipice of civil war by July 1993. The attack on the St James Church in Kenilworth, a ‘White’ suburb, at the end of that month brought about a new sense of urgency for Christians to leave their own comfort zones. In different parts of the country Christians from different denominational backgrounds came together for prayer. The result was described as a miracle, something that could only be explained as an intervention from God.
The prayer drive of July 1996 started at the strategic Gatesville mosque. This is the same venue from where a fateful PAGAD car procession started a week later. The latter procession left for Salt River on August 4, 1996, the occasion when the influential drug lord, Rashaad Staggie, was burnt publicly.
In January 1996 various missionaries had linked up in a Muslim Evangelism course held at the Bible Institute in Kalk Bay. This resulted in an invitation to my wife and me to teach at the YWAM base in Muizenberg later that year. There we met Mark Gabriel, a convert from Egypt, and a former professor at the famous al-Azar University of Cairo. He was hereafter assigned to do the practical part of his outreach with us.
Sandwiched between the two processions that left the Gatesville mosque, Gabriel shared his testimony at a combined church youth service the evening of the last Sunday of July 1996, after which a booklet with his story, Against the tides in the Middle East, was up for sale. Using the pseudonym Mustapha, the booklet described how he had to flee his home country, where he narrowly escaped assassination. His written testimony caused quite a stir at the Cape.

3.6. Terrorism and Islam is conceived
Within days Mark Gabriel’s booklet was in the hands of a Cape Muslim leader, who suspected that Gabriel had contact with us, enquiring after him on Wednesday 7 August, 2006. The Egyptian feared for his life once again, going into hiding immediately. The pictures of the PAGAD execution in Salt River on television reminded him of Muslim radicals of the Middle East. This inspired him to research jihad in Islamic literature, compiling a book in 2001 in the USA, to where he had moved in the meantime. The September 11 event of that year made his book a best seller when it was published at the beginning of 2002. It came out under the title Terrorism and Islam. The book turned out to be a major factor in the exposure of the militant teaching in Islam, going into its fourth print in April 2003.
PAGAD received wide media coverage, but much of it was negative. On 11 March 1997 their supporters marched to parliament. A week later, a few PAGAD activists - armed with machine guns - entered the Rylands home of the Minister of Justice, Dullah Omar. This was a shrewd move, because Dullah Omar was seen as the originator of the legislation, which granted easy bail to gangsters. Easy bail was perceived as the cause of the escalation of drug-related crime. Only later it became known that the hard core of the PAGAD leadership was deeply involved in drug dealing, albeit that they had others to do the actual peddling. Popular backing for PAGAD was further eroded when demonstrations at the City Waterfront and at the international airport were marred by violence, which led to the arrest of several leaders.

3.7. Negative facets of the new democracy
The new democracy in South Africa since 1994 brought advantages to Islam, which however also had some negative facets. Thus the new possibility of using the radio to propagate the religion was counterproductive when an Achilles heel of Islam, viz. the role of women, was highlighted. Disputes in the media about the public speaking of women reflected badly on the religion. The issue came into the open in February 1995 after a powerful woman speaker from abroad, Professor Amina Wadud, had been allowed to address the audience in the Claremont Main Road mosque (Esack, 1999:??). In the ensuing row, angry gangster-like Muslims, who had been instigated by opposing Muslim leaders led by the influential Shaykh Gabriels - were bussed in to give the mosque authorities a rough time.
The reports about the teaching via Radio Islam in Gauteng on how Muslims should beat their wives harmed the Islamic cause countrywide. This was followed by controversy around the use of female presenters. The public speaking of women - e.g. on the radio - was heavily debated in Gauteng in the context of the Islamic right of men to discipline their wives corporally. Up to that point in time the high occurrence of Muslim men beating their wives was hardly known outside of Islamic circles in this country.

3.8. The Battle of the airwaves
In the mid 1990s negative publicity for Islam was amply in evidence during a nasty quarrel between the two Islamic radio stations in the Cape. The differing factions of Cape Islam each had their favourite radio stations. Many Muslims perceived Radio Voice of the Cape to be in competition with Radio 786, although the two Islamic stations were sharing the same frequency. Yet, influential shaykhs like Sa’dullah Khan of the Gatesville mosque were operating on both stations. At some stage the rivalry reached such frenzy that telephone lines were cut. At the time of the PAGAD crisis in 1997/8 Radio 786 had virtually become the voice of Qibla, the radical faction of Cape Islam.

At the Global Consultation of World Evangelization (GCOWE) in Pretoria in July 1997, Avril Thomas, the directress of Radio CCFM (Cape Community FM) – formerly called radio Fish Hoek - had been challenged to use the station to reach out to Cape Muslims with the Gospel. She phoned the writer, offering airtime for a regular programme. A series on biblical figures in the Qur’an and the Talmud were hereafter transmitted via the radio station towards the end of 1997 (and repeated in 1999 and in 2004/5). There followed a gradual increase of occasional programmes that were geared to address the Cape Muslim population.

3.9. Regular programmes of CCFM
In the meantime, Gill Knaggs, who led a prayer group in her Muizenberg home, offered her services to CCFM in 1997 as a volunteer. She had some previous experience in writing scripts for commercial use. Soon she was available and ready to write the scripts for two followers of Jesus with an Islamic upbringing. At a meeting on 7 January 1998 it was decided to start with a regular Life Issues programme via CCFM, making use of these two converts. On the same day the radio station Voice of the Cape published their intention in the Cape Argus to use a convert from Christianity.
The precedent created space for CCFM radio to follow suit, with less fear of PAGAD reprisals if they would use converts from anIslamic background. Soon hereafter a weekly programme started, beginning with the theme ‘the woman of two faces’. Independently from CCFM, the related radio station Radio Pulpit, which broadcasts countrywide, also started using a convert from Islam as a presenter.

3.9.1. God Changes Lives
From time to time local converts from Islam who became followers of Jesus, shared their testimonies on the CCFM programme called God Changes Lives. The programme started in January 1998. Two consecutive ‘God Changes lives’ programmes by a convert from Ghana had reverberations as he shared how he and his 28 siblings came to the Lord one after the other. However, it was surely not less powerful when local converts dared to share their testimonies via the radio.
Both CCFM and Tygerberg radio stations received permission to broadcast 24 hours per day. The ‘vibe’ of CCFM becoming more secular, resulted in many more people from other religions starting to tune and phone in. The daily programme Life Issues got a weekly (ex-) Muslim-targeting slot on a Thursday morning, interspersed with testimonies of believers who came from an Islamic background.

3.10. A Lebanon scenario?
The crisis that followed the PAGAD eruption of August 1996 presented the churches with a challenge, to impact the problem areas of the Cape townships. With the danger of a Lebanon scenario being very real - everybody was just waiting for the gangsters to hit back with a vengeance - a meeting for church leaders and missionaries was organized at the Scripture Union building in Rondebosch. Here the suggestion was put forward to organize a mass prayer meeting on the Athlone stadium.
PAGAD activists were suspected to be behind the bombing of the Planet Hollywood Restaurant at the Cape Town Waterfront on 25 August, 1998. The purpose of the perpetrators was not clear. Since then it has surfaced that ‘making the country ungovernable’ was part and parcel of the strategy agreed to by Islamic extremists, in order to provide the platform for the creation of an Islamic state. The Planet Hollywood bombing however resulted in more confusion in the Muslim community. A leading Muslim, the academic Dr. Ebrahim Moosa, went on television announcing that he was going to take his family overseas. When the Cape Times, a local daily newspaper, announced a week later that Shaykh Sa’dullah Khan of the Gatesville mosque was also leaving the Cape shores, the impression was enhanced that they were leaving a sinking ship.
The PAGAD actions definitely had not intended to harm the Muslim cause but the public statements of the Muslim leaders leaving the country - albeit temporarily – did just that.

3.11. Islamic bewilderment
The takeover of PAGAD by Muslim extremists was completely counterproductive, causing Islamic bewilderment among many adherents of the religion. Not only did it help to spread drug addiction to the countryside, but its violence and obviously negative attitude to the rule of law back-fired on Islam. The PAGAD spokesmen, given ample television exposure by the new cape-based station E-TV, appeared to make no effort to dispel the suspicion that the members were taking the law into their own hands. The militant faction of Islam now came increasingly to the fore. This embarrassed those Muslims who tried to project a peaceful image for the religion.
Rashied Staggie, by now a famous Cape drug lord, was shot and hospitalised in March 1999. Staggie made news headlines from the Louis Leipoldt Clinic in Bellville through his public confession of faith in Jesus. Two weeks later Glen Khan, another gang leader was assassinated. Another public confession of faith – this time televised - by Rashied Staggie at the Khan funeral after his miraculous recovery ensued, was followed by a trickle of conversions from Islam to Christianity. This appeared to trouble PAGAD and its leaders so much that they took the initiative to meet Christian leaders. This led to the formation of the Cape Peace Initiative.
When Ganief Daniels, a Muslim, appeared to get PAGAD under control with a new police drive dubbed Operation Good Hope, his religion benefited. However, random bombing from the end of 1999 placed the whole Cape Peninsula in suspense once again.

3.12. A change in the religious climate
From the early 1990s more research was done than before into spiritual influences, especially those of a demonic or anti-Christian nature. In respect of Islam, Gerda Leithgöb had already introduced the exercise to the Cape at a prayer seminar in Rylands Estate in January 1995, but only in 1999 was it practiced in Cape Islamic areas. The Cape Reformed Church of Manenberg was possibly the first to pointedly use ‘spiritual mapping’. This was the notorious township where PAGAD had started in 1996.
Pastor Eddie Edson, spearheaded the Manenberg outreach and citywide prayer events. It is ironic that the violent threat from PAGAD appeared to introduce the transformation of the city. In the process Manenberg - once a black spot of crime and violence - was poised to become the vanguard for transformation of the city. The locality depicted a change in the religious climate in 1999 more than any other. An off-sales liquor distribution centre, the Green Dolphin, changed hands dramatically when it became a church, the name Green Pastures being suggested by a resident. Even more dramatic was the turn-about of Die Hok, the former national headquarters of the Hard Living syndicate, which also became a church. But revival was not ushered in just yet!
In July 1999 the cause of disquiet shifted to the gangsters when rape appeared to have become rife. The threat of anarchy became real, the bombing were perceived to have a PAGAD link. With cases of rape reported in the City Bowl and other former ‘White’ residential areas - plus the simultaneous spiralling of AIDS - Christians from all races were forced to wake up. There was an urgent need for more prayer.
The big prayer event at the Lighthouse Christian Centre in Parow on 15 October 1999, where the first Transformation video was shown, had great ramifications. A year later a three-day prayer conference was held at the same venue with international speakers. On the same day of the start of the prayer conference, 3 November 2000, the main alleged perpetrators of the pipe bomb planting were arrested and not a single bombing detonated for years thereafter. All this led to a massive prayer occasion on 21 March 2001 at the Newlands Rugby Ground. By this time the bombing had stopped dramatically.

4. Conclusion

Reparation and restitution for past wrongs are being discussed in various quarters. The church universal is definitely in debt with regard to the origins of Islam. Waraqah bin Naufal, the cousin of the first wife of Muhammad, is known to have been a Christian priest. He unfortunately failed to instruct Muhammad properly.
False teaching of heretical Christians and the bickering of Christian theologians – influenced by the semi-pagan rule of Constantine - all contributed to give a foundation to a religion that was ultimately built on deception. Would the church universal be ready to express regret in respect of its unfortunate role in the establishment and spread of Islam globally?
Muslims have a special place in South African history. The suffering of Cape Muslims at the hands of people, who professed to be Christians, needs redress. It is significant that so many apartheid laws and practices had precedents in the attitudes and measures against the Cape Muslims of colonial days.
It is high time that we make amends. Measures that drove Muslims away from faith in Christ should be boldly confessed by as broad a representation of the church as possible. Are we willing and prepared to look anew at church traditions and practices which actually hinder Muslims from coming to Christ? If we could abandon those traditions and church practices that nullify the Word of God (Mark. 7:13), we might find some Muslims open to the Gospel of the crucified and risen Jesus.
It may not be far off the mark to suggest that the legislation and practices of our new secular South African government, with its perceived predilection of legalising or giving support to sexual immorality, may also have driven people further away from a relationship to God through faith in Jesus. The time has come for the church to take a more prophetic role again. Let us humble ourselves, and pray… (2 Chronicles 7:14), confessing our wrongs and turn to God in repentance.
Church leaders would do well to keep in mind that God is not only glorified in his mercies but also in his judgement. The warning, which one could derive from Romans 1:18-32 for the social and moral disintegration of an ancient culture, is probably valid for the entire morally decadent West. Could we in South Africa possibly give a humble lead in confession and repentance in this regard? The country has a fine precedent when White South Africans - with the exclusion of some rightwing groups like the AWB - accepted correction to its apartheid policies, led by the late Professor Johan Heyns. Another academic, Professor Willie Jonker, confessed on behalf of the Dutch Reformed Church at the Rustenburg conference in November 1990, an event which was a significant step towards the beginnings of the new democracy.
Historically, Cape Muslims have been much closer to biblical Christianity than those from Islam in many other parts of the world. Farid Esack (1999:119) describes the South African Muslim community as ‘one of the most dynamic and exciting in the world of Islam.’ If anywhere, Islam here - excluding perhaps the fringe extremist groups - might be ready to accept correction.
Costly restitution would be a genuine sign of remorse and repentance. This would prove how serious we are to get involved in a corporate unified attempt to tackle drug abuse. That scourge has been plaguing Cape Islam, the Mother City and our country at large for such a long time already. Together with Muslims and other religious groups we could thereafter tackle the materialist greed and its corollary poverty, which would otherwise inevitably lead to an increase in crime and pull all of us down into the abyss of economic ruin, hopelessness, distrust, despair and other related social diseases.
Yet, we would do even better if our primary concern is not our survival, but the glory of God’s reign. Comenius had the vision that nations from around the globe should start living harmoniously and peacefully under the reign of King Jesus. A joint statement of intent by religious leaders could go some way as preparers of the way, in the vein of John, the Baptist - to usher in the ultimate reign of the biblical King of Kings! Writing in the apartheid-dominated South Africa of 1979, John de Gruchy suggested prophetically: ‘The Holy Spirit is given to enable the church to bear witness to the reality of the coming shalom’ (De Gruchy, The Church Struggle in South Africa, 1979 p.231). With the appropriate adaptation, this challenge is still very valid. How are we going to respond?

(10000 Words)

Da Costa, Y. - Islam in Greater Cape Town, (Doctoral thesis)
Univ. of South Africa, Pretoria, 1989
Greyling, C.J.A. - Die invloed van Strominge in die Islam op die Jesusbeskouing van die
SuidAfrikaanse Moslems, Stellenbosch, 1976
Esack, Farid, - On being a Muslim, One World, Oxford (UK), 1999

Mahida, Ebrahim Mahomed, History of Muslims in South Africa, a Chronology,
Arabic Study Circle, Durban, 1993
Mukadam, Ahmed - Muslim Common Religious Practices at the Cape, Identification and
Analysis, M.A. Thesis, University of Cape Town, 1990
Tayob, Abdulkader - Islamic Resurgence in South Africa, the Muslim Youth Movement, UCT
Press, Cape Town, 1995
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Website – ( http.//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_South_Africa)
- article Islam in South Africa (page modified on 3 January 2006)


A. Cape harbingers for justice and peace

A.1. A Heart for the spiritually lost and socially downtrodden
The pioneering work of Georg Schmidt among the Khoi with his heart for the spiritually lost and socially downtrodden, is surely such a radiant sign. There where the present-day Genadendal is situated, he baptised only five converts in 1742. But he became the harbinger of all mission work in South Africa, influencing matters at the Cape and worldwide for many years after his involuntary departure.
The battle by the missionaries Dr van der Kemp and Dr Philip against the maltreatment of Khoi and slaves in the early 19th century paved the way for legislation towards the equality for all people in South Africa and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

A.2 People from different backgrounds working together
For my next examples I would like to remind us how people from different racial, ideological and religious backgrounds, including Muslims and Christians, worked together here at the Cape to influence matters in the country deeply.

A.2.1 Support for the Oppressed
The stature of Dr Abdurahman, a dynamic Muslim medical doctor, grew meteorically as a politician after he had seen how Blacks were maltreated during the Bubonic plague in 1901. Abdurahman saw how this issue was abused, to dump the Blacks in Ndabeni. Calling the party he helped to establish, the African Peoples’ Organization (APO), the roots in the Black continent was emphasised. Non-racialism was to be the hall-mark of the District Six based party.
James La Guma and Johnny Gomas were Cape Marxists and trade unionists, who were committed to justice. James La Guma called his Fifteen Group of District Six for a special meeting in 1935 when the threat of Blacks being deprived of their franchise became clearer. He concluded: ‘We need an organization of all the oppressed.’ A new organization was formed: the National Liberation League (NLL). In Cissy Gool, the daughter of Dr Abdurahman, he had a ready-made president. The proposed Hertzog-Smuts legislation would render Blacks to be aliens in their own country, and they were thereby also forced to go and work in the mines or on the farms of the Whites. The Bills, which were intended to remove Blacks from the common voters’ roll in the Cape, entrenching segregation, brought into being the All African Convention (AAC).
The NLL became one of the main forces in the All African Convention (AAC) which met from 15-18 December, 1935 with more than 400 delegates. That congress was characterised by great enthusiasm and determination.

A.2.2. Opposition to Fascism and anti-Semitism
In 1933 Adolf Hitler was elected into office in Germany. Pro-Hitler demonstrations became fashionable, organised throughout South Africa as early as 1934. Swastikas appeared on walls in many places.
Hitler made no secret of his intention to build an empire with his anti-Semitic demonic ideology. South African Fascists found their way into Parliament via the Purified National Party, led by the Cape politician and former DRC clergyman Dr D.F. Malan, who later became the first NP Prime Minister. He announced publicly: ‘We are not race-haters, but anti-Semites. We shall follow the same course as Germany, Austria and Italy...’ (Cited in Berger, Nathan – In those days, in these times - spotlighting events in Jewry, 1979:53)

The strongest opposition to Fascism and anti-Semitism came from a group of young UCT students who came together in 1938 to form the New Era Fellowship (NEF). The movement had its hub in District Six, where quite a few Jews were living at this time.
Furthermore, the Western Cape-born Afrikaner, General Jan Smuts, was significantly asked by Sir Winston Churchhill to join his War Cabinet in the Second World War to keep Hitler and his allies at bay, and Smuts was also one of the founders of the League of Nations, the harbinger of the UNO.

A.2.3. Opposition to Apartheid
One of the first acts of organized resistance against Dr. Malan and his National Party government was the Train Apartheid Resistance Committee (TARC), which sought to stop the introduction of racial sign boards like those on the Main Line and elsewhere in the country such as on the Cape Flats and Suburban train line to Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town. The TARC saw their resistance as a bulwark against the fast eroding rights of all people who were not White. The mood in the attempt to defy new apartheid laws by the aborted TARC may be seen as an important starting domino of resistance, the harbinger of the Defiance Campaign of 1952.
Arguably the most effective church opposition against apartheid initially came from the ranks of the Dutch Reformed Church, the denomination, which was led by racist ideologists. This resistance was led by Eerwaarde (Reverend) I.D. Morkel from the Cape Flats, who in turn influenced a dynamic White mover, a young clergyman, Ds David Botha of the Wynberg Sendingkerk.
When Dr Theo Kotze became Regional Director of the Christian Institute (CI) in 1969, with its office in Mowbray, the organisation had already become quite unpopular among Whites because of the clear stand on the side of justice and against apartheid.
The theme of the CI was (racial) reconciliation. All initiatives were preceded by discussions based on Bible Study and prayer. Beyers Naudé, the national leader, set the prophetic tone in the pursuit of truth and reconciliation, a message with which Theo Kotze had no problem at all. He would not stop at being compassionate to Muslims. He took the trouble to go to the home of Farid Esack, a young Muslim and high school student, to explain to the family that his first police detention was not because he was a bad person. Esack testified to Kotze’s contribution in his spiritual development: ‘It was a Christian minister who taught me that Islam is not the sole repository of truth’ (Jean Knighton-Fitt, Beyond Fear, 2003:186).


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