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South African President breaks fast with Muslims, lauds their contributions

8th Jun 2018

Hassan Isilow and Ahmed J Versi

South Africa’s new President, Cyril Ramaphosa praised Muslims for their contribution to the country’s economy during an iftar dinner on May 30.

“’I was told, despite the Muslim population just being 1.6 per cent, that they contributed 10 per cent to the economy of [55 million people],” he said at Rylands in Cape Town. Ramaphosa joined the Maghrib [sunset] prayers together with the leaders of the Muslim Judicial Council, who had invited him.

“Thank you for trusting me to be present with you in this most holy hour, on this most holy night, the 15th of Ramadan, in this most holy month,” he said. He also praised Muslims for participating in every sector related to the economy, including Government, the judiciary and businesses. Ramaphosa said South African Muslims are also doing a good job in volunteering to help the less fortunate.

The President said, “My own life has intersected with so many Muslims who derived their commitment and courage directly from the holy and empowering teachings and rituals of Islam.”

Ramaphosa praised contributions made by Muslims against Apartheid. “It was people like Dr Abdurahman, Cissy [Zainunnisa] Gool, Dullah Omar, Imam Abdullah Haron and Sheikh Nazeem Mohamed who ensured that Muslims were an integral part of the achievement and the construction of a free and democratic South Africa.

“Many of the forbearers of these leaders were brought to these shores in chains. “ Their devotion to the values of Islam allowed them to fight colonialism and imperialism, whether in the Malay archipelago, the Indian sub-continent or in Africa.

“Tuan Guru, Sheikh Yusuf, Saartjie van die Kaap and the other great pioneers of Islam in South Africa knew that colonialism and its offspring, apartheid, could never be justified and must always be combated.” May Ramadan remind you of the poor and may it strengthen our resolve as a nation to embrace transformation so that one day we may eliminate unemployment, poverty and inequality.

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