Growing up in the Eastern Cape my interaction with Muslim peeps was somewhat limited. In Std 5 at St Anne’s Convent we had Riad Masoet join us for the last year of Primary School. Ironic hey? A Muslim boy at a Convent but that is the makings of a whole other blog post.
My next encounter was the fact that the Gatti Ice-Cream shop in East London was owned by a Muslim gentleman. I would often get it wrong and head over on a Friday at lunchtime to stock up on ice-cream, only to find the shop CLOSED. Seriously? Do you not want my business? Who closes shop midday to head off to the mosque on a FRIDAY? Don’t you use a Sunday like the rest of us to exercise your religious activities?
Then it all happened. Seven years ago we relocated to Cape-Town. So my introduction to the Muslim culture started, kinda like a baptism by FIRE.
The start of a new job and new colleagues. Very exciting. I get myself involved in all sorts of activities and soon we have a Staff Social Club going and I arrange our first event. A braai at the office. I will bring our Weber, buy some meat & beers and we will be good to go. Or not! I quickly learnt that things were not that simple. Not only did we need halaal meat but also a halaal braai/Weber. The beers were literally put on ice until after hours once our Muslim colleagues had eaten and left the event. Although this seemed a little odd, it was the way things got done in Cape-Town and I soon adjusted my way of thinking.
Over the last year I have had the privilege of sharing my office with the most insane bunch of ladies, two of those being Muslim. It has allowed open conversations regarding our religious beliefs and a greater understanding on my part of how and why certain things are done. It also affirms for me why I love this country so much – DIVERSITY!
So a massive “Happy Eid Mubarak” to my specials, Fatimah and Raeesa. You have not only taught me what “Haram” is but also that perhaps I should try a little self sacrifice next Lent. I am just not sure which would be worse, no coffee or no social media?