Mosque declared a heritage site

Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais at the mosque.

The Claremont mosque where anti-apartheid cleric Abdullah Haron served has been declared a provincial heritage site.

Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais unveiled the heritage-site plaque at the Al-Jaamia Masjid last week, marking the 50th anniversary of Imam Haron’s death.

The anti-apartheid activist died on September 27 1969 – 123 days after he was taken into detention at Caledon Square police station.

Various events across the city were held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death.

At the ceremony, Ms Marais said: “Imam Haron is remembered for his passionate stand against discrimination and prejudice. He served the Al-Jaamia Masjid, as well as the Muslim community until his death 50 years ago, and his work continues at the masjid through programmes that he initiated.”

She added: “May the legacy of Imam Haron at the Al-Jaamia Masjid keep on inspiring future generations.”

Dr Antonia Malan, chairperson of the Council of Heritage Western Cape (HWC), said the purpose of the declaration was to celebrate the site, its history and achievements.

“Most places have many values, significances, histories and memories associated with them and these can change over time. How these heritage resources are given a role and purpose into the future is up to us and our successors.”

Professor Mohammed Haron said his late father had laid the foundation for what the mosque was today. “My father was a very spiritual man and would often visit sites that were spiritually energising. He would fast every Monday and Thursday from sunrise to sunset,” he said.

Professor Haron described his father as a charismatic man who had been able to connect with all kinds of people no matter their background, religion, culture and heritage. “He was able to see beyond his own vision.”

Shaykh Isgaak Taliep, secretary general of the Muslim Judicial Council, said the imam had been a leader, activist, freedom fighter, teacher, husband, father and a profound Muslim, whose legacy had to be honoured.

“As we remember his sacrifices, we also need to remember what he meant to the people and not only focus on the dates or events but who Imam Haron was as a person.”

He encouraged the community to continue the legacy of the Imam Haron and be people of justice.

After the ceremony at the mosque, close family and Imam Haron Foundation members attended a private heritage-plaque unveiling at his grave Mowbray.