PHALABORWA – The Kruger National Park in South Africa erected its first ever mosque on December 3, Rekord Centurion Muslims reported.
“The initiative was aimed at promoting inclusivity and diversity at the park. Many of the park’s visitors are Muslim, which had made an increased need for the mosque clear.” said the park’s managing executive, Glenn Phillips.
The mosque is located between the Clock Tower and The Stevenson Hamilton memorial library, where there is a washing up area for both men and women.
“We have people from different cultures visiting the park and it is our task to try and ensure that we accommodate everyone,” he expressed.
Muslims pray five times a day and the mosque was built to enable Muslim guests visiting the park to do so. Before prayer, they’re required to do ablution; wash their hands and feet and gargle their mouths.
A Muslim religious leader, Junaid Hassin, said: “this would help Muslim visitors better practise their religion at the park. Various people from the Muslim community in South Africa were in attendance to witness the opening.”
According to 2015 estimates, Islam is practiced by roughly 1.5% of the total population of South Africa. The earliest Muslims in the country were part of the involuntary migration of slaves, political prisoners and political exiles from Africa and Southeast Asia during the 17th century.
Recent figures put the number at approximately at between 75,000 and 100,000. In addition to this are a considerable number of Muslims from South Asia that have arrived as economic migrants.
The Muslim community in South Africa lives in harmony with other faith communities. This religious cohesion is most obvious in the Indian and Coloured residential areas where Muslims live amongst, work with and attend school with fellow South Africans of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, atheist and agnostic beliefs.