Promote Tolerance in Diverse Muslim Community: Ebrahim Rasool (Georgetown Scholar-In Residence, Former Ambassador of South Africa) Correspondent

The Islamic world is being bombarded by powers trying to disunite the global Muslim community. This was the sentiment coming from founder of the Religious Leaders’ Forum, and former South African Ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool. He was speaking at the official opening of the Masjid Jamiah Ahlul Bayt in Ottery.

Rasool noted that the concept of micro-exclusions has wrought divisions and intolerance within the diverse Muslim community. He says that this has given fuel to notions of Islamophobia and racism globally, and has warned that this should not take hold in South Africa.

Founder of the Religious Leaders’ Forum, and former South African Ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool says that Muslims must educate themselves along the lines of justice and unity.

Notably, Ebrahim Rasool is spending his 15 months at Georgetown working on a book about re-imagining Islam, mentoring students and speaking to members of the university community about his experience. “His significant role in the anti-Apartheid movement, alone, will be a great contribution to Georgetown,” says John Esposito, University Professor and CMCU founding director. “Obviously, anyone who was in that movement did so at great cost, and this is somebody who knows what it is to bring about that kind of social change.” Prior to his ambassadorship, Rasool served from 2004 to 2008 as premier of South Africa’s Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town as its capital, governing as a member of the African National Congress. He became a special advisor to South African president Kgalema Motlanthe in 2008 and 2009, and was later elected to parliament in the National Assembly, where he served until 2010. “Georgetown is offering me an opportunity to step out of a hectic three decades or more of political activism within the struggle of Apartheid, the transition of South Africa, the governance of South Africa and finally representing South Africa in Washington,” Rasool says. “For the first time, I have the opportunity to step back from it and ask myself what have I learned over all of these years.” Rasool met the man who would become South Africa’s first black president – Nelson Mandela – while serving time as a political detainee at Pollsmoor Prison in 1987.

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