Friday, November 16, 2012

South Africa's Largest Muslim Student body condemns attacks by Israel on Gaza (November 16, 2012)

The Muslim Students’ Association of South Africa (MSA Union) officially expressed its dire concern today over the recent attacks that have plagued Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Gaza has endured over 30 air raids in the past 48 hours, along with the threat of an eminent Israeli ground assault- reminiscent of Operation Cast Lead.
According to reports in the Associated Press, On Wednesday 14th November 2012, Ahmed Al-Jabari – the most senior official of Hamas' armed unit – was assassinated by the IDF. Not long after, the intensive bombing raid ensued. The assassination of Jabari comes as a clear sign of Israel's stance towards the democratically elected resistance movement inside Palestine. The IDF has claimed that this is the first stage of 'Operation Cloud Pillar', a pre-coordinated military operation, with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu claiming that "ALL options are on the table".
As the violence escalates, sources inside Israel have claimed that Israeli troops are gathering at the Southern border of Gaza. Already more than fifteen people have been murdered, with reports confirming that those among them include women and children, as well as more than one hundred Palestinians wounded.
"MSA Union is an organization based on Islamic principles, and through our history with Apartheid, stand against all Human Rights violations", said MSA Union President Yusuf Talia. "For far too long has the South African Government – as human rights watchdogs – been silent on the issue of Palestine. As MSA Union, we condemn the attacks carried out by the Israeli military, and are calling on our government for the withdrawal of the South African Ambassador to Israel, as well as the adoption of boycotts and sanctions on Israel."
The Union of Muslim Students in South Africa calls for the end of all diplomatic ties between South Africa and Israel until a solution can be formulated which encompasses equal rights to all citizens- No Bantustans, but rather a country in which all citizens can live, with the right of return for those who have been exiled.
MSA Union also reaffirms our BDS stance, calling for nations to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel.
Issued by MSA Union
For more information email
Yusuf Talia, MSA Union President, 071 677 2391/ 076 153 8262

Latest figures report that 18 Palestinians have been killed including 11 civilians from two days of Israeli airstrikes (466 air strikes according to the Israeli army)* *Al Jazeera, 16th November, 08:25

Monday, November 12, 2012

Project IQra Press Release - Report Back

After months of hard work from the dedicated Project IQra team, the entire project came to an end on the 21st September 2012. The idea of the IQra concept was brainstormed just a few months earlier and was chosen to be the flagship project of the MSA Union. The aim was to have a project that would both increase social consciousness amongst university students and the community as well as address a direct need in society; that being education.

Project IQra’s aim was to provide Matric Power Packs as well as school packs and on-going support to grade 11 pupils from selected underprivileged schools in South Africa. The Power Packs, given to each learner, consisted of 4 Answer Series study guides, bursary information, career information and basic stationery. Each pack was valued at approximately R520. The school packs consisted of a projector and laptop filled with useful teaching aid videos, lesson plans and textbooks. In total, we were fortunate to provide 1711 students from 9 schools with Power packs, and 15 schools with school packs. The 15 schools comprised of 2 from Limpopo, 2 from KZN, 1 from Free State and 10 from Gauteng.

Packaging week took place from the 17th to the 20th of September, where passionate students from Wits, UJ, UP and UoFS packaged and personally labelled the Matric Power Packs for each of the pupils. Each pack was designed with precision to ensure that the pupil got the 4 textbooks that he or she needed most. The packs were then delivered to the schools by the MSA volunteers, an inspirational career guidance talk was given and aptitude tests were distributed for the pupils to help identify their strengths and career paths.

On the 21st of September, the final Project IQra event took place where approximately 1700 pupils were transported to Wits for an informative and stimulating Career’s Day. The pupils had an opportunity to visit faculty stalls, take a tour around the campus, listen to motivational and educational talks as well as have a lovely lunch. The event was a great success and lives were touched. The pupils definitely enjoyed a break from the classroom environment, being exposed the larger picture.

In total, funds and items to the value of R1 million was collected. The funds raised were spent on the Matric Power Packs, school packs and the Career’s Day. Full details of the financials can be obtained from the MSA Union. The MSA would like to thank each and every person, organisation and business that contributed to the success of Project IQra. The project could not have been achieved without the co-operation and support of the community. 

Our former president, Nelson Mandela has said:
“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

We can only hope now that the passion to learn and succeed has been planted into these pupils and that they will grow to be the future leaders of this country, helping themselves and uplifting their communities. Ongoing communication will be made with the schools to follow up provide further assistance where possible.

Project IQra has touched the lives of many, both the receivers of the packs as well as those involved in making the project a success. We hope to run a similar initiative in the years to come, helping more individuals and touching more lives.

Ms Taskeen Adam                                          

MSA Union Vice President
Project IQra Manager                         
083 259 3786

Date: 12 November 2012