Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is it fair to erect a Mosque in a small predominately Christian neighborhood?

Residents of a small South African Karoo town want a double-storey mosque in their neighbourhood demolished.

Members of the Oudtshoorn Ratepayers' Association claim that since the Jaami Masjid was built - on land they claim was illegally sold by the council - their property values have dropped by 40%.

They say the mosque's public address system, on which the five daily calls to prayer is amplified, was costing the bed and breakfast next door a packet in lost business.

"In September 2009 public speakers were erected and used to call for prayers in unbearable high amplitude.

"My B&B business dropped immediately because my overseas guests were afraid," said owner Reinold Hensel.

He said there was a "big slaughter" at the mosque in November 2009 near the water reservoir and that his guests left immediately, fearing water pollution.

The slaughtering was in accordance with rituals conducted on the holy day of Eid-ul-Adha.

The Muslim Judicial Council declined to comment, referring The Times to the mosque's imam, Mufti Basheer Khan. Khan also declined to comment.

In letters to the municipality, the ratepayers' association claims the land on which the mosque is built was sold to the PE Dural Aloom Religious Group for just R25.

They also allege the council closed off a part of the street for the mosque without consulting them.

Lizanne Pelham, chairman of the ratepayers' association, said the Oudtshoorn municipality was sitting on findings of an investigation commissioned last year by Western Cape local government MEC Anton Bredell.

"No cultural and environmental impact studies were conducted even though the combined size of properties sold are over a hectare," she said.

"The mosque is situated in an established area [whose] majority [are] a non-Muslim community and the Islamic religious practices such as call to prayer and slaughtering animals are infringing on the rights of the residents."

Pelham said the Muslim community in Oudtshoorn was not big enough for such a large mosque, claiming worshippers are bused in from elsewhere. She said she wants the town's Muslims to attend mosque in George, which is 55km away.

Hensel said he used to enjoy a good relationship with Khan when work on the mosque started in 2006. "He told me that he will build a silent mosque with a school. The construction went on and on, the building got bigger and bigger. Some of my neighbours complained," he said.

"In 2010 I got various cancellations for the [Fifa] World Cup because my clients were afraid to stay so close to an Islamic mosque.

"My children who live in Europe are so scared of the Muslim activity here. They were supposed to take over my international tourism business but now they have refused."

Municipal spokesman Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe confirmed that the municipality had received the report from Bredell's office but they had sought legal opinion.

So what are your thoughts? .........Comment would be appreciated........
Original story http://www.timeslive.co.za/Mosque-stirs-unholy-rumble