Knysna is to build its first Mosque.
According to their Facebook page, the “Knysna Municipality is absolutely elated at this morning’s court ruling”. The Cape High Court upheld the DA-led Council’s May 2015 decision to give the Mosque a green light. Judge Daniel Dlodlo dismissed the case with costs. The plaintiffs are rumoured to have spent approximately R500,000 so far.
Although the plaintiffs seemed to have well-founded technical arguments regarding by-laws, it’s possible that some used that mask to hide prejudice.
Back in 2016, just before the local elections, a commentator on the Facebook page of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) stated that, “Someone needs to go bury some dead pigs on that property! ‘Defile’ the land!” None of the ACDP candidates, including the now vice-chairperson of the Knysna Ratepayers’ Association, denounced the comment which was allowed to stand for days.
The Mosque will be built on a currently empty plot in Rawson Street that’s in between a well known bar and a laundromat, and right next to the offices of DA Councillor Martin Young. It’s well positioned, a hundred metres from Knysna Mall.
Omas Essa, the leader of the Knysna Muslim Council (KMC), said, “We hope to engage with the objectors and find a way forward. We need to integrate and understand beyond our differences. I want us to live as good neighbours.”
If there’s no appeal against the decision, Essa says that they aim to start building in the middle of this year.