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Eid al-Fitr 2013: Celebrating our Fitrah

In Muslim Views, Muslim Women, Palestine, Sacred Space, Scholar, Society on August 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Published in the Muslim Views Eid al-Fitr edition in August 2013.

As the Ummah approaches the beautiful celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, all Muslims – women and men alike will rejoice in the return to our fitrah, that innate disposition of purity which we are all created with. As we celebrate, let us spare an extra prayer for Muslim women, who in many cases, not only observed their own fasts but also prepared the Suhoor and Futoor meals for their families and communities.

As we approach the days of Eid, we also find ourselves in August – women’s month. In reflecting on the divergence of these two significant events, it is essential to reflect on some of the current challenges facing women, both of the Ummah and of humanity. Muslim women in South Africa are a whirlpool of talent and have certainly made great strides both educationally and professionally. Whilst on the national level, the visibility and contribution of Muslim women in the spheres of government, media and the corporate world are promising, on the community level, both socially and spiritually, there still remain some gaps. I refer here to the lack of inclusive sacred spaces in the masaajid and Eid musallah, as well the absence of a considerable active presence of women in key leadership positions in Muslim organizations – particularly scholarly bodies. I do not mean to generalize to the point of claiming no presence of women in these areas at all, because progress has certainly been made – however, there remains a strong need for more visible and significant contribution by women, which follows in the trajectory of the Quran and Sunnah of Muhammad (pbuh).

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Academic Boycott of Israel Gains Momentum

In Palestine on October 19, 2010 at 11:20 am

Published in Al Qalam newspaper

The last week of September 2010 proved to be an eventful one for the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement in South Africa. Following vigorous campaigning by activists for the University Of Johannesburg (UJ) to cut its ties with the Ben Gurion University (BGU) in the Negev, a petition was signed by over 200 academics from 22 institutions across South Africa, including top-ranking intellectuals, scholars and religious leaders. Signees include the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kader Asmal, Allan Boesack, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Mahmood Mamdani, Adam Habib and Barney Pityana, amongst other prominent names.

UJ’s ties with BGU date back to the 1980’s, and have come under heavy criticism due to its continuation from the Apartheid regime, seen as an unnecessary carry over with oppressive connotations . BGU is ostensibly involved, directly and indirectly, in Israeli military operations and occupation. It has offered scholarships to students who served in active combat units; turns a blind eye to oppressive practices like land dispossession in its vicinity and practices discrimination against Palestinian students.

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Locating Ethnic States in a Cosmopolitan World

In Palestine on October 19, 2010 at 11:13 am

Published in Al Qalam newspaper

The Afro-Middle East Centre hosted its first international conference last week, bringing together key academics, activists and politicians, in a three day symposium entitled, “Locating Ethnic States in a Cosmopolitan World: the Case of Israel”.  The conference, which took place in Pretoria, was targeted at the policy-making community.

The conference was initiated by Deputy Minister of International Relations, Ebrahim Ebrahim, who stressed that South Africa is willing to be engaged in seeking justice for Palestinians.

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Palestinian Report Scathing of South Africa’s Relations with Israel

In Palestine on October 19, 2010 at 10:19 am

Published at Amandla, BDS movement and Afro-Middle East Centre

A report published last month by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, and endorsed by the Palestinian BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions) National Committee, is scathing of South African business – including South African parastatals – for their relations with Israel.

Entitled ‘Democratic South Africa’s Complicity in Israel’s Occupation, Colonialism and Apartheid’, the 58 page report details South Africa’s economic ties with Israel, and the political and related social consequences thereof. It analyses a number of South African companies’ involvement or contribution to Israel’s occupation industry, and reviews government initiatives which aim to promote trade relations with Israel.

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