Venue : Mbikwa Cindy Community Hall, corner Nkadimeng and Chiloane Street
The agenda is as follows: (in South Africa time)
09:00 to 09:15- Introduction and welcome
09:15 to 10:00 ‘Importance of unity among Muslims’ by Br. Taheer Moepa
10:00 to 10:45 ‘Challenges related to gender’ by Sister Mamohale Moloi
10:45 to 11:30 ‘Racism in post Apartheid South Africa’ by Ml Feizal Moerane
11:30 to 12:15 ‘Principles of Islamic revolution’ by Ml Dawood Ndlovu
12:15 to 13:15 ‘Education- The pivot for Social Justice’ by Imam Qaseem
13:15 to 14:00 Break for Thuhr Salaah and lunch
14:00 to 14:45 ‘Importance of building solidarity economies’ by Ml Abdu Raheem Nkumane
14:45 to 15:45 ‘BRICS and the Challenge to the Petrodollar’ by Sheik Imraan Hosein
15:45 to 16:45 ‘A framework for Unity’ by Imam Mohammed Al Asi
16:45 – 17:00 - Vote of thanks
Founder member of Qibla, member of the PAC, Robben Island political prisoner and advisor to the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Imam Achmad Cassiem was born and grew up in an Islamic environment. He became politicised in the 1960s when the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) organised an anti-pass campaign that ended in the Sharpeville Massacre. At the age of 15, he joined the armed struggle against the apartheid government. At the age of 17, Cassiem together with his teacher, Sadiq Isaacs, was arrested. Isaacs was considered to be the mastermind behind the manufacturing of bombs and explosives. Cassiem was then detained under the 90 Day detention law, during which time he was interrogated by the security police and denied access to a lawyer or his family.
Cassiem and his teacher were charged under the Sabotage Act. Cassiem was sentenced to 5 years in prison, while Isaacs was sentenced to 12 years. He was taken to Robben Island, where he served his sentence and became one of the youngest people to be imprisoned on the Island. During his time in prison, he was punished for attempting to expose the appalling conditions on the Island by smuggling out letters to Amnesty International and the International Red Cross. The person who was to smuggle the letters worked for the system.
After serving his sentence, he was released and immediately issued with a banning order. He was not allowed to communicate with more than one person at a time, entertain visitors or enter any educational institution. Cassiem became a founder member of the radical Qibla (which means direction) movement, which was founded in 1979 with the purpose of defending and promoting Islam in South Africa.
Cassiem was arrested for breaking the conditions of his banning order by attending Jummah(Friday congregational prayers) but was later released. Harassment by the security police did not stop, he was again arrested in 1980 for secretly mobilising students and teachers to oppose apartheid education. As a result, he and 65 others were detained for 243 days without any charge. While in prison he was punished for violating a ban to communicate with other prisoners from Transvaal. As a result, the prison warders confiscated their documentation, newspapers, books and the Qur'an. He was later released without any charges being laid.
On 2 May 1981, Cassiem was arrested once again under the Terrorism Act. This arose after an incident that occurred in Athens Airport, in which ten guerrillas of the movement were caught on their way from Libya, where they had received military training. The plan was that they would come down to Harare and proceed to infiltrate South Africa from that point. One of the guerrillas arrested had Cassiem’s telephone number, which the police used to trace and arrest him. His trial began in 1987 and ended in October 1988. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment.
In 2005 he was also leading the PAC in the Western Cape Province. He served as the party’s Secretary General at national level. Cassiem is the National Chairperson of the Islamic Unity Convention (South Africa) and an advisor to the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
He was born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad in 1942 from parents whose ancestors had migrated as indentured labourer from India. He is a graduate of the Aleemiyah Institute in Karachi and has studied at sevaral instutions of higher learning including the University of Karachi,the University of the West Indies, Al Azhar University and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Switzerland.
He worked for several years as a Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago but gave up his job in 1985 to devote his life to the mission of Islam.
He lived in New York for ten years during which time he served as the Director of Islamic Studies for the Joint Committee of Muslim Organizations of Greater New York. He lectured on Islam in several American and Canadian universities, colleges, churches, synagogues, prisons, community halls, etc. He also participated in many inter-faith dialogues with Christian and Jewish scholars while representing Islam in USA. He was the Imam, for sometime, at Masjid Dar al-Qur'an in Long Island, New York. He also led the weekly Juma'ah prayers and delivered the sermon at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan once a month for ten years continuously.
He is a former Principal of the Aleemiyah Institute of Islamic Studies in Karachi, Pakistan, Director of Research of the World Muslim Congress in Karachi, Pakistan, Director of the Islamic Institute for Education and Research in Miami, Florida, and Director of D'awah for Tanzeem-e-Islami of North America.
He has traveled continuously and extensively around the world on Islamic lecture-tours since graduating from the Aleemiyah Institute of Islamic Studies in 1971 at age 29. And he has also written more than a dozen books on Islam that have invariably been received with public respect. Indeed, 'Jerusalem in the Qur'an - An Islamic View of the Destiny of Jerusalem' has become a best seller and has been translated and published in several languages.
Imam al-Asi was born in Grand Rapids, MI in the year 1951. At the age of 11, he moved to Lebanon where he completed his high school education. He then attended the Arab University of Beirut, where he partook in extensive studies of the Arabic language. In 1973, al-Asi returned to the United States and attended the University of Maryland, graduating with a degree in Government and Politics in 1979.
In November of 1981, al-Asi was elected as the Imam of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C. He and his family moved into the Masjid and al-Asi became the full acting Imam. In March of 1983, however, the Saudi Embassy, with the help of several different law enforcement agencies, forced the elected administration of the Islamic Center to leave the premise. From that point on, with the continued support of the Saudis, the same law enforcement agencies prohibit the pro-election Muslims from entering the Masjid. These Muslims have been thus forced to pray theirJumu'ah prayer on the street for the past 32 years.
Imam al-Asi currently spends much of his time attending conferences, speaking to a variety of student groups, and lecturing in several countries around the world. He has also published several written works on important issues concerning Islam's position and role in the modern world. His primary work in progress is the first tafsir of the Qur'an written in the English language.