CAPE TOWN, The Cape Town High Court has dismissed with costs an application by a group of landowners in the town of Knysna, about 480 kilometres east of here, to halt the building of the first mosque in the town.
The Knysna Municipality approved the re-zoning of a vacant plot for development in 2015 but the body corporate of a nearby block of flats objected, resulting in a lengthy court battle.
In his judgment here Wednesday, Judge Daniel Dlodlo said the Knysna Muslim Council would still have to comply with various conditions attached to the municipality’s initial approval.
Dlodlo said the applicants in the matter needed to bear in mind that the Muslim community had the right to build a place of worship provided they obtained the necessary approval to do so.
The body corporate of the block of flats cited the availability of parkingS traffic congestion and the noise factor as some of their objections. Judge Dlodlo said as long as the Knysna Muslim Council obtained the necessary approvals, they could go ahead with their plans to build a mosque in Knysna.
The Chairman of the Knysna Muslim Council, Omar Essa, said they are overjoyed with the judgment. “I think it’s more than a victory for the Knysna community. I think it’s a victory for the emerging Muslim community in all the small towns,” he added.
“There are many communities that are going through exactly the same battle. I think it’s unfortunate, in this day and age, that we must still go through this, 23 years after democracy. All we can say is we are extremely happy.”
Essa said a lack of knowledge of the Muslim faith is what may have caused the court battle. “I would venture to say that it’s more about ignorance, ignorance of what Islam really is about and not what you see on TV. Maybe there’s an element of intolerance. Maybe there’s an element of disintegration or an element of exclusivity.”
Representatives of the Rawson Street homeowners were not immediately available to comment on the court ruling.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK