On Thursday December 9, 2010, Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar, of the Claremont Main Road Masjid, together with a few religious leaders from the city of Cape Town participated in a March of over three hundred women, men and children, to express their concern around violence and the abuse of women and children and to lobby and advocate for women and children’s rights.
The March marked the 20th Anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence – 25 November to 11 December 2010.
The March started at 10h00 from the Zinat-ul-Islam Mosque in Muir Street, Keizersgracht, District Six, where an initial rally was held. It then winded its way through the centre of the City of Cape Town and stopped at the office of the Premier and the Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities. The March ended with a vigil at the Central Methodist Church where a pledge to eradicate the scourge of violence and abuse against women and children was read out.
Earlier in the week Imam Rashied chaired the opening session of the launching conference of the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI) at the University of the Western Cape.
In a statement Imam Rashied, who serves as a Patron of SAFFI, said that the 16 days of activism in South Africa from an Islamic standpoint simply means that women and children are not expected by to passively sit by and accept violence and abuse, but rather they are encouraged to actively seek to eradicate this scourge and embrace the egalitarian spirit of Islam which affirms the full dignity and honour of women. “It is my sincere hope and prayer that through this March we remember all women and children who live with and suffer with violence as their constant companions in South Africa and elsewhere in world. But most of all, I hope that through this 16 Days of Activism we will renew our commitments to continue the gender jihad – the struggle for the equivalence and full dignity of women within the house of Islam,” Imam Rashied’s statement concluded.