Muslim Civil Society Conference

Muslim Civil Society Conference

Editor’s Note: This Muslim Civil Society Conference is an important initiative, and has my full support. The organisers provided an important update, and we are reproducing it in full. 

We look forward to seeing you at the first Muslim Civil Society Conference focused on Domestic Public Policy Issues since 1994!

A quick note that this email is quite comprehensive and packed with info, so really worth reading to the end.

Registration for the conference is online ONLY with etickets issued via email once you’ve registered at .

We’ve also launched a 1000 x R1000 campaign. Asking 1000 generous Citizens to contribute R1000 ONCE OFF to raise R1m for ASRI’s operations post conference. I think from all of us on this list, we can easily crowd source this funding if we each speak to 3 people to contribute. The equivalent of less than R100 a month is a small price to pay to get this much needed Pluralist Public Policy Institute off the ground.

The bank details are as follows:
Account Name: ASRI
First National Bank
Account # 6250 5969 074
Branch Code: 250655

May the good in your life increase and grow beyond your expectations. Ameen.


  • The Deputy President is confirmed in writing as the Keynote Speaker for the Gala Dinner. The letter from the presidency is available electronically.



  • Online Registration has been activated on the website, so if you haven’t already done so and intend on participating, then please go to this link to register


  • The venue has been confirmed.  The gala dinner and the conference will be hosted at The Wanderers Club (Illovo). Prayer/Meditation facilities for males and females will be available.


  • Tickets are limited to 250 now available for sale, with other tickets going to invited guests from government, labour, non profits, academia, and civil society. Please book early to secure your seats. The conference is in a panel discussion forum format, to make it accessible to all, with the opportunity  for Audience participation in each panel discussion.
  • Simulcast Radio shows have begun on our Media Partners, Radio Islam, Radio Al Ansaar, and Voice of the Cape on Wednesday Nights at 8PM. The next discussion is Creating Employment, Wednesday, April 29 at 8pm.


  • Our Pre Conference TV Show will kick off on Sunday, 3 May 2015, at 10am on ITV, hosted by Khadija Patel




  • We have confirmed group rates at two hotels in Johannesburg, the Protea Hotel Wanderers and the Southern Sun Hyde Park at around R1200 a room. Should you wish to take advantage of this, please email

Lets spare a thought for our fellow African Citizens who have been displaced due to the xenophobic attacks, and fellow South Africans who still go to bed hungry, use pit latrines, don’t have access to quality medical care, and are losing faith in the system.

The onus is on every one of us, as citizens, to ensure that the political programme of nation building and job creation proceeds with speed to ensure that with government we address the underlying socio economic issues facing our Country, and in so doing secure our constitutional democracy for the next generation.

Please forward and distribute widely to your friends, family, and business networks.

The model that we’re pursuing in terms of building out ASRI’s research and advocacy programmes post conference, is that of appointing dedicated research chairs in each of ASRI’s Focus Areas, under which will be researchers (PhD candidates), research fellows (Masters Candidates), and research associates (Honours Students).

Petrocam and AMKA have agreed to fund our Research Chairs in Job Creation and Nationbuilding respectively. We’re now looking for suitable individuals who can fill these roles, keeping in mind that we’re a pluralist institute, reflective of wider South African society. As additional funders come on board, we’ll build out each research programme and establish new ones.
Again, these individuals should be of the highest caliber, with a good public profile and track record of strong values, and ideally associated with a Tertiary Institute or have a good public policy background. Initially these roles will not be fulltime.

We have developed three distinct funding tiers to give donors the opportunity to fund ASRI according to their means. Core donors (R200 000), Research Donors (R100 000) and Project Donors (R25000 to R50 000). Each funder gets excellent exposure over a period of 12 months, by being associated with our research output, roundtables, seminars, and events of ASRI in the coming year. (See attached Funding Tiers)

This funding is then used to fund suitable chairs and candidates currently at tertiary institutions who’s incomes can be supplemented in return for an association with ASRI and access to their expertise. This is the most financially viable approach in year 1, with the intent to move to Full Time Research Chairs in Year Two.

Please contact individuals in your network to convince them of the need to contribute. This project will succeed or fail based on the funding we secure in the first year.

With Peace,
Muhammad Cajee

Executive Director

Hajj Accreditation List 2015 (Update)

The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) have released the “filler list” of accredited Hajjis. The list can be accessed at the following website: click here.

Important dates:

  • Acceptance of accreditation for filler list – 6 May 2015
  • Finalisation of contracts with operators – 8 May 2015 (This is for persons accredited on the list released on the 16 April 2015).

Accreditation Stats

The Voice of the Cape reports the following based on an interview with Sahuc president, Shaheen Essop. It reports as follows:

The South African Haj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) will now reassess its haj accreditation list, after 1379 of the 2000 accredited prospective pilgrims indicated their acceptance before Monday’s cut-off date. The remaining 621 either opted out, or failed to notify Sahuc within the allotted period.

Despite a slow uptake upon the lists release on April 17th, responses eventually increased closer to Sahuc’s deadline. 226 of those who opted against taking up the accreditation either cancelled or transferred to next year’s process, whereas 395 people were cancelled by Sahuc for failing to inform the haj regulatory body of their decision.

“As a result, that 395 people will now lose 30 points in their accreditation. If they are first time hujjaj, in order to get back into the queue they would need to reapply and go straight to the back,” said Sahuc president, Shaheen Essop.

Read the full article,Voice of Cape on Hajj Accreditation List.


(New Zakaat Report) An Act of Faith: Humanitarian Financing and Zakat

The Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) programme has released a report on Zakaat titled “An Act of Faith: Humanitarian Financing and Zakat”. Amongst the key findings of the report are:

  • In 2013, faith-based organisations received and delivered between US$420 million and US$434 million (15–16%) of all international humanitarian assistance channelled through non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  • The global volume of Zakat collected each year through formal mechanisms is, at the very least, in the tens of billions of dollars. Data collected for Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which make up 17% of the world’s estimated Muslim population, indicates that in these countries alone at least US$5.7 billion is currently collected in Zakat each year.
  • Between 23% and 57% of Zakat currently collected is used for humanitarian assistance, depending on the context in which it is raised and used. It is therefore likely that Zakat is already a significant source of humanitarian financing in many places, and has the potential to provide more.

To download the report, access data and communicate with the authors, visit the report page (by clicking here.)

Also, find the video of an event discussing the report.


Hat Tip: Thanks to  Poverty to Power Blog for highlighting this report.

Nepal Appeals

Several organisations have started work in supporting Nepal to recover from a devastating earthquake. These organisations need your assistance in responding to the crises. Here are a couple of organisation working in Nepal:


  1. Doctors Without Borders : Visit this page for donation information.  Follow the team on this page. Click here.
  2. Gift of the Givers (Gift of the Givers Website)
  3. Al-Imdaad Foundation (Phone: 0861-786-243)

(If there are any other organisations, please add them in comments below).



Advice on Disaster Donations

The Give Well website has sound advice for all of us in providing charity in response to disasters. A summary follows below:


1. Give cash, not clothes (or other goods). Giving away unwanted items makes donors feel good, and relief agencies can be under substantial pressure to accept their gifts-in-kind. But shipping and sorting these gifts can be a substantial expense and hassle

2. Support an organization that will help or get out of the way. A highly professional, experienced organization with a pre-existing presence in the affected country will likely help where it can, and stay out of the way where it can’t. But a less professional organization could easily detract from the relief effort.

3. Give proactively, not reactively. Don’t give to a charity just because it calls you on the phone, advertises on your Google search or otherwise connects with you first. That rewards the most aggressive organizations instead of the most competent and responsible ones. Instead, give not just money but thoughtfulness – take the time to find the best giving option you can.

4. Allow your funds to be used where most needed – even if that means they’re not used during this disaster. Disasters attract a great deal of media attention and money, yet in many cases the biggest challenge is logistics. The result can be that money isn’t the limiting factor in the immediate relief effort.

5. Give to organizations that are transparent and accountable.

6. Think about less-publicized suffering. Every day, people die from preventable and curable diseases, in many cases because they lack access to proven life-savers such as insecticide-treated nets. Their day-to-day suffering isn’t well-suited to making headlines, and they generally don’t attract the attention and dollars that disaster relief victims do – yet we believe that donations targeting these populations do more good than disaster relief donations.

Read the full article:

Giving to support the relief effort for the Nepal earthquake




We live in a time where many of us have been fortunate enough to have visited the Holy Lands. Yet there are many first timers each year who embark on this journey. Some of which is their first plane ride out of the country. For these people and also for some people who have been for Haj before, the task of choosing a Haj Operator can be very very confusing. There’s all this jargon that people think you just magically know… But you don’t.


Here are some FAQ’s


Daarul Taqwa, Oberoi, Movenpick etc?

If this is the first time you are travelling to the Kingdom, you don’t know where any of these hotels are… Google Maps is helpful with this to see the distance to the Haram in a proper scale. Seeing a map of the area before hand helps with your general sense of direction. Also, if you are traveling with elderly people, it helps to know how near you would be because there is quite a bit of walking involved.


What is Tanazul?

Tanazul is the fees required to sort out all your paperwork when it comes to Visas etc.


What is Dham?

Dham in the context of your Haj package is the monies you spend for the sacrificing of an animal. Some packages include this amount, some don’t. Since you need to sacrifice your animal before you can come out of Ihraam, I’d say it’s kind of important that you check up on that detail since the 5 Days of Haj come toward the end of your trip and you may not have as much cash to spare then.


What is Special Services?

Special Services, for most people is because of the distance of the camp in Mina to Jamaraat. It is as close to Jamaraat you can get. Which means, a shorter walking distance as opposed to Non-Special Services. As for distances, I couldn’t give you exact figures, but if you are travelling with elderly people or people who have trouble walking long or even short distances, Special Services is something you should look into.


Who is Muassasa?

They are responsible for your 5 days of Haj stay and your transport between Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah.


I hope this is helpful and that Allah accepts everyone’s Haj.




How is Zakat Dynamically Fair?

Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam, and one of the primary mechanisms for ensuring a fairer distribution of wealth. In fact, in a perfect world one could envisage a world with no poverty if Zakat was distributed fairly. One of the features of Zakat that is not immediately obvious is that it is a wealth tax, not an income tax. This video explains why this is important.