On the 21st of August 2020, in the matter between Chandra Giri Ellaurie and Madrasah Taleemuddeen Islamic Institute, the presiding judge, Sidwell Mngadi, ruled that the Call to Prayer (Azaan) made at the institute should not be heard beyond the boundaries of the institute.
The court ruling stems from an application made by Mr Ellaurie against Madrasah Taleemuddeen which sought not only to prevent the Madrasah from the sound of its Azaan extending beyond the boundaries of its property but also for the Madrasah to be shut down and its property be sold to the State or a non-Muslim entity.
The applicant had not hidden from the court his opposition to the Islamic faith and that he considers Islam to be a false religion which should not be protected by the constitution.
It is truly saddening that we still find pockets of intolerance and bigotry within our Rainbow Nation. Yet, it is a reality of life that every country and community has their share of bigots and extremists. Hence, there is nothing truly surprising that an application of this nature was made.
What is surprising and indeed shocking is that a Judge, versed in South African Law which gives the highest value to fostering tolerance, diversity and the embracing of all religious beliefs, would choose to entertain such bigotry and ignore the freedom of religious expression ensconced in the constitution.
The judgement, which we believe to be ill-conceived and a stain on the South African Judiciary, bodes ill not only for the religious expression of the Islamic faith but sets a dangerous precedent for curtailing the religious expression of all faiths.
As such, it is our duty, both religious and civic to appeal and oppose this judgement. The motion for appeal has already begun and the Jamiatul Ulama KZN will apply to join the proceedings as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to support the appeal to the fullest extent.
We thank and commend all organisations, notably the Isipingo Beach Christian Fellowship, and all individuals who have given their support to the Muslim community against this judgement.