CAIRO - Cape Town Muslims have protested against a liquor license granted to a bar right next to one of first mosques in the country as ignoring Muslim worshippers' rights.
Authorities placed the first bar in Bo-Kaap right next to the mosque, Bo-Kaap Civic Association chairman Osman Shabodien told Cape Times on Thursday, August 23.
We want to know why we were not consulted. We have support from non-Muslim residents and churches.
A liquor license has been granted to a bar a meter from Nurul Islam mosque, one of the country's oldest mosques built in 1834 in Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town.
Enraged by the decision, 100 residents protested outside Abantu Restaurant and Bar to express their anger.
We've spoken to the bar's owner, a Mr Sam, who said as far as he is concerned, he has a license and can trade, Shabodien said.
We are very angry.
Muslims make up some 1.5 percent of South Africa's 49 million-strong population, according to the CIA fact book.
Islam takes an uncompromising stand in prohibiting intoxicants. It forbids Muslims from drinking or even selling alcohol.
The general rule in Islam is that any beverage that get people intoxicated when taken is unlawful, both in small and large quantities, whether it is alcohol, drugs, fermented raisin drink or something else.
Ignoring Muslim Rights
Located one meter from the ancient mosque, Muslims said they were repeatedly offended by the bar noise and smells.
This is just too much, said the mosque's imam, Serag Johaar, adding that the bar's kitchen window opened in front of his office.
The sanctity of the mosque is being disrespected.
Shabodien, Bo-Kaap Civic Association chairman, said that Wednesday's protest would not be the last against the bar.
He said the demonstration would continue daily until next Thursday, followed by a protest march to the Provincial Legislature.
Officials promised to look into the issue as Democratic Alliance ward councilor Dave Bryant said that he was not a councilor yet when it was issued.
He confirmed that he opposed the bar license.
We are doing follow-up, he said.
South Africa's legislation forbids the granting of a liquor license to a bottle store or bar within the vicinity of schools or places of worship.