Muslim Groups Join the World in Mourning the Death of Nelson Mandela
The Islamic Shura Council has extended its condolences to the family of Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa as wells as those who were inspired by his legacy and struggle.
Affectionately called Madiba by the people of South Africa, Mandela was a man of principles. He fought not only for his freedom, but for the freedom and dignity of all South Africans and, in later years, all people. " He who witnesses oppression against others, and doesn't feel oppressed, is not a free man," he once said. On another occasion, he said, " Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."
Our sincere condolences to the people of South Africa and all those who were inspired by his legacy and struggle.
" Nelson Mandela's life demonstrates that a life lived with purpose and meaning can also leave a lasting imprint on the human history. He embodied the universal principles that all human life is sacrosanct and that all humans have an inherent right to dignity. Mandela's life of many sacrifices teaches us that real victory and true success belongs to those who practice patience, remain steadfast and forgive their enemies," said Dr.Muzammil Siddiqi, Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council.
Mandela told his epic story in his autobiography, " A Long Walk to Freedom ", which documents how many of his compatriots in the struggle against apartheid included Muslims, including Ahmad Kathrada and Dr. Yusuf Dadoo .
Watch Mandela's speech to the world after 27 years of imprisonment, as well as this touching tribute to Mandela by his dear friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu upon his 90th birthday.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council joined the world in mourning the loss of one of the greatest leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela . He was a man of exceptional influence who fought apartheid to become a beacon of hope for his people and the world, says an MPAC message. It adds:
It is with a heavy heart that MPAC gives its deepest condolences to the family of a man who broke the boundaries of color and reversed the injustices of racism. Although his personal journey is over, his revolution lives on in the hearts of so many working for change and justice.
Aside from the oppression and wrongful imprisonment, Mandela watched his country vote for the first time in a fully representative, multiracial election that gave him his revolutionary presidency from 1994 to 1999. He became the first man of color to serve as President of South Africa. Twenty-seven years in prison could not stop his quest to end apartheid.
“Mandela changed South Africa and our world forever,” said Salam Al-Marayati , MPAC President. “A standard was set that demanded the dismantlement of racism and all the evils that came with it.”
Mandela’s stance on social justice and racial conciliation is a standard that MPAC has set upon itself. For that past few years, MPAC has paired with South African Ambassador to the US Ebrahim Rasool to join in not only the South African struggle, but also for education and inter-faith harmony throughout the world.
With a long history of commitment to the anti-apartheid struggle and work in the United Democratic Front and the African National Congress, Rasool is an irreplaceable asset to the MPAC community that embodied Mandela’s spirit and his quest for change.
MPAC is proud to be affiliated with the lifelong work of Nelson Mandela, and with respect in our hearts and motivation in our ready hands, the legacy of Mandela has a long way to go for South Africans, Americans and all of humanity that has oppression forced upon them.
The Greater LA area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has said that the death of Nelson Mandela is a loss for all humanity and that the South African leader will remain an example to those fighting for human rights.
In a statement reacting to news of Mandela's death, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"Throughout his life, Nelson Mandela served as an example of strength in adversity to all those fighting for freedom and justice. His legacy of uncompromising perseverance in the face of bigotry and injustice will live on for generations to come.
"He was a unique historic figure. From his jail cell, he demonstrated vision and courage, and taught the world the true meaning of steadfastness. Outside his cell, he demonstrated statesmanship, reconciliation and pragmatism.
"As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 'For every day on which the sun rises, there is a (reward) for the one who establishes justice among people.'"
CAIR cited the famous Mandela quote : "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Former boxing heavyweight champion Mohammad Ali paid tribute to Nelson Mandela as a symbol of forgiveness who inspired others to "reach for what appeared to be impossible," as he joined in mourning the death of the South African anti-apartheid leader Thursday.
The icons who shared a boxing background met twice - once in South Africa and once in North America, said a spokeswoman for the Ali Center in Louisville, Ali's hometown.
"What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge," Ali said in his statement released by the Ali Center. "He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale."
"He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically," Ali said. "He made us realize, we are our brother's keeper and that our brothers come in all colors."
Among the exhibits at the Ali Center is a photo of Ali and Mandela, their hands clenched into fists as if they're boxing.
That photo was taken during Ali's trip to South Africa, said Ronald DiNicola, Ali's longtime attorney who accompanied the boxing great on the trip.
"Mandela was a former fighter, so there was a kindred spirit there," DiNicola said by phone Thursday evening. "There was always that connection."
Thousands greeted Ali on his arrival in South Africa, he recalled. Ali's visit came as the country was mourning the assassination of Chris Hani, another anti-apartheid leader who was killed in 1993. Ali visited Hani's family and attended the funeral, DiNicola said.
"It had a deep emotional impact on the mourners and the country that Muhammad happened to be there at that moment," he said. "It gave them, I think, a level of comfort."