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S. Africa Scholars Urge Muslims to Vote

Published: 07/05/2014 03:47:56 PM GMT
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JOHANNESBURG – As South Africans headed to polling stations on Wednesday, May 7, to vote in general elections, leaders of the Muslim community have urged Muslim voters to make their voices heard to preserve their country’s democracy 20 years after the end of apartheid rule. It is our Islamic political duty to ensure the constitutional gu...(more)

JOHANNESBURG – As South Africans headed to polling stations on Wednesday, May 7, to vote in general elections, leaders of the Muslim community have urged Muslim voters to make their voices heard to preserve their country’s democracy 20 years after the end of apartheid rule.

It is our Islamic political duty to ensure the constitutional guarantee of all our hard-fought human rights,” Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said in a statement released in the Western Cape and obtained by Radio Cii on Tuesday read.

“Make your mark,” Jamiatul Ulama South Africa (JUSA) said, echoing a similar message.

South African Muslims

Muslims in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Wednesday election is the first time that those born after the end of apartheid in 1994 are able to vote.

It is also the first vote since the death in December of Nelson Mandela, the country's first black president.

Mandela's party, the African National Congress, has won all of the national elections over the past 20 years.

Though several opposition parties have regional strongholds, only the ANC has a realistic chance of winning the presidency this year.

As their country struggles through one of the worst political and economic crises since the end of apartheid 20 years ago, Muslim bodies said it was necessary to participate to make their voices heard.

Voters were also urged to fight for the survival of South Africa’s democracy.

“Voting connects us to one another as citizens,” and “helps to safeguard our freedoms,” the statement read.

Yet, many believe May 7 vote will not help to bring about any change, especially with corruption being so rife within government institutions.

Muslims make up some 1.5 percent of South Africa’s 49 million-strong population, according to the CIA fact book.

Challenges

For many Muslims, the collective voting for a certain party posed another challenge for some Muslims who saw it as an approval of all their policies, including man-made secular laws.

“This is not necessarily the case,” says the JUSA.

“No one should imagine that anyone who says that it is OK to vote is thereby expressing approval or support for disbelief. It is done in the interests of the Muslims, not out of love for disbelief.”

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, Dar al-Iftaa; Darul Uloom; student of Mufti Taqi Usmani, shared a similar opinion.

In a situation where there is no worthy candidate (as in non-Muslim countries, where at least the ideologies and beliefs of the relevant parties are contrary to the teachings of Shari`ah), then the vote should be given to the one who is the better and more trust worthy then the other candidates,” he was quoted by Radio Cii.

“Vote should be given to the candidate that one believes will give people their rights, prevent oppression, and so on.”

Maulana Khalilul Rahman Sajjad Nomani Nadwi, Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, added that voting was necessary for all Muslims.

“All efforts should be made, bearing in mind the political situation of a particular country, to ensure full participation in the political process,” he said.

“This is an absolute necessity. Muslims should not be reticent about their involvement in this regard. Rather, they should make progress in this matter.”

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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