South Africa: Al Jama-Ah – the Small Islamic Political Party With a Narrow Vision and Big Ambitions

They’re a small party, with huge ambitions. They have a narrow vision, with expansive views. And they’re playing with fire, using Tony Leon’s disastrous “fight back” slogan as their own. That’s Al Jama-ah (The Congregation), the only Muslim political party in the country. From his sickbed – Covid-19 and pneumonia – the party’s leader, Ganief Hendricks, spoke to Daily Maverick on Monday.

I guess the most important thing that came out of the interview was that Al Jama-ah wants to demonstrate to South Africans that “not all Muslims” are like al-Qaeda and ISIS, nor, I should assume, like Boko Haram, or the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters of the Philippines. Ganief Hendricks, leader of Al Jama-ah, explained that Muslims can participate in democratic politics under the South African Constitution. South African Muslims, he assured me, are as disgusted by the most recent spate of beheadings and wanton slaughter across Europe.

“Just because someone shouts Allahu Akbar before he beheads a person does not make him a Muslim,” Hendricks said. I’m not sure that all South African Muslims are opposed to the extremists, but we have to take Hendricks at his word. He felt it necessary to assure me that Islam was…

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