SA Muslim council acts to curb Isis influence

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has expressed shock at the news that a 15-year-old Cape Town girl allegedly tried to join the Islamic State (Isis), pronouncing an “immunisation” against the group’s possible influence in the country.

Speaking at a press conference at their headquarters in Cape Town on Wednesday, MJC president Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks told reporters of the organisation’s shock that a young Muslim girl was allegedly lured by the terror group.

“It came to us a shock as a community. The minute the news came to us, we intensified every possible attempt to get in close contact with the family,” Hendricks said.

“However, we have not been able to succeed up to this moment in time, and we understand for numerous reasons. The MJC will continue to make further attempts to meet with the family. It is best to meet with them in order to not contradict the real story.”

Resisting terror
The MJC met on Wednesday with the leaders of all the mosques in the Cape Town area to address the issue of possible Isis recruitment in South Africa.

Hendricks stressed the role that the organisation is playing in equipping the country’s Muslim community against the influences of global terror groups.

“It’s the Muslim Judicial Council’s responsibility to see how this possibly affects the rest of the Muslim community in South Africa,” he said.

“Therefore, we called the imams to clearly say that ‘this is what’s in front of us’, and it’s beginning to affect the fibre of our community.

“We pronounce today a process of immunisation. We believe it’s important to immunise our community and our youth against these possible influences.”

Hendricks stated that the country’s imams knew too little about the actual operations of ISIS, and said they hoped to create a “tool kit” for the imams to empower them.

“We are members of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, an international body, and we have access to people in Iraq and Syria.

“We can be empowered by first-hand information, and we hope to include that in the tool kit for the imams, to share with the youth and share with our community.”

‘She was an ordinary student’
On Wednesday, the teenager’s school principal, who did not want to be named, said the 15-year-old exhibited no behaviour out of the ordinary before her reported attempt to leave the country.

 “She is as ordinary and exceptional as anybody else,” he told News24 on Wednesday.

“There is nothing untoward about her and there was nothing that would have given us any cause for concern.

“There is obviously shock and major surprise. The fact that we know her and its being reported in the media adds to that element of shock, and just a sense of reflection, should we have seen this.

“But there has also been an overwhelming concern for her well-being over what she’s going through.”

He said the school would provide the necessary care for the teenager, as well as provide any support to the wider student body at the school. –

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