|Muslims and Afrikaners|
Muslims played a role in most places in South Africa, from the Cape to Transvaal and Natal and at several vital times in South African history. Here is one snapshot into an Afrikaner (Boer) state that preceded the formation of South Africa:
In the 1800’s the Indian Muslim Ajam Abed befriended the leader of the Boer Army General Koos De La Rey. De La Rey is widely regarded as being one of the strongest military leaders in the Second Anglo-Boer War and one of the leading figures of Boer independence. Ajam Abed lived next door to De La Rey in Lichtenburg and they became friends.
In the Anglo-Boer War, Ajam Abed assisted the Afrikaners in protecting them from the British who herded Afrikaner women and children into concentration camps, burnt their crops, homes and farms and poisoned their wells. 50% of Boer children under 16 died in the concentration camps.
When the British were arresting Afrikaners in Lichtenburg, Ajam Abed helped De La Rey’s family by allowing the women and children to hide in his house. He would tell the British that his women were in the house and the British, out of respect for the Muslim sanctity of women, would not enter his house. He would disguise the Afrikaner women in Hijab as his daughters if they needed to go out and the British would not interfere with them. Ajam Abed also helped De La Rey’s family with food.
This was an example of early unity in South Africa fostered by a Muslim’s sense of justice and help for suffering humanity.
(Adapted from: Die Burger, 14 July 2001; Muslim Woman 7:4)
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