Cape Town, 4 Dzulqa’dah 1436/19 August 2015 (MINA) – Recognizing the remarkable sacrifices shown by Muslims to end apartheid, a South African Premier has hailed the role of Indian Muslims to liberate his country.

“Both the government and the (ruling) African National Congress want to be close to you because of our historical ties. Muslims were committed in the struggle for the liberation of all Africans,” Senzo Mchunu, Premier of the KwaZulu-Natal province, was quoted by PTI on Monday, August 17.

The premier of the coastal province, which is home to over 60% of the country’s Indian population, lauded Muslims while evoking the views anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Highlighting the “massive” role of Indian Muslims, Mchunu mentioned the remarkable efforts of the South African Indian Congress leader Yusuf Dadoo, sociologist Prof Fatima Meer and her husband Ismail Meer, who are all now deceased.

He called them struggle veterans who “rose above their community and embraced humanity.”

The premier made his comments about Muslims’ fight against the inequalities and injustices during a gathering organized by media lobby group South African Muslim Network (SAMNET).

“Those leaders stood firm with the majority (Black community) for the rights of everyone,” the Premier said.

The community continued to make “massive” contributions in the development of post-apartheid South Africa in various fields, he added.

Despite their efforts and massive rule to end apartheid, the activities of the South African Muslim community “often went unreported”, Mchunu stated.

“(Their contribution) remains good, whether it is reported or not,” he said.

Being an integral part of the anti-apartheid struggle with Mandela, Muslims say that Mandela liberated the country from apartheid as well as liberating Muslims and the practicing of Islam.

Muslim freedom of practicing their religion was extended to schools after Mandela came to power.

Jailed 27 years for fighting white minority rule, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

The Nobel Peace Prize 1993 was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

On 5 December 2013, Mandela, the first President of South Africa elected in a fully representative democratic election, died at the age of 95 after suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection dating back to the time he endured at Robben Island prison camp near Cape Town.

The demographics of South Africa encompass about 52 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and religions; Muslims comprise just over 1.5 percent of the population according to the CIA World Factbook.

The last census was held in 2011, the next one is slated to take place anywhere between 2016–2021. (T/P007/RO6)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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