[notice]In this week’s Righteous Rant RUTH *, a Christian living in Belville, Cape Town is concerned that fellow Christ followers are missing a critical opportunity to reach out to Somali people who have moved into the area in great numbers. Gateway News invites you to email your rant to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication in this occasional column where readers get to share what’s on their heart. (* – not her real name) [/notice]
Muslims, Jehovas Witnesses moving in; Christians moving out
I am a Cape Townian who is enjoying the beautiful surroundings that the city has and the freedom that we have to choose to follow Christ or just assimilate to the life of just going to church on Sundays, particularly on Easter and Christmas. This is how, in my opinion, we exercise our democracy and freedom to do as we please. We have RIGHTS!!!
John 1:12 (right to be called the children of God) does not seem to be top on our list (as church going people).
I have recently moved to an area that seems to be the “headquarters” of Somalis in the Western Cape. There are approximately 120 000 Somalis in this one suburb of Cape Town. The people that seem to want to give them literature are Jehovas witnesses. They (Somalis) own most of the shops, internet cafes and outside stalls in the area between Voortrekker road and the train station. When one walks on Durban Road one gets the feeling that one is walking in another country (probably Somalia); even homeless Somalis hang around this area.
This is a central business area and the saints have gone to shop in other areas. I sometimes visit the coffee places (Somali coffee places) and I feel like a foreigner in my hometown. There is a mosque in the area and when it is time to pray, the call to prayer is heard in the shopping centre. The stall owners close their stalls and go to pray. They are free. The sad part is that there is also an Islamic propagation centre here. They are doing business but they also have a mission — to spread Islam, particularly among black and coloured people. They have the space to do it and the saints have given them freedom to do as they please.
My appeal to the saints: Let us go and shop in these places. Let us be present so that they can find someone who can answer Biblical questions, instead of the skimpily dressed young ladies that help out in their stalls (who represent Christianity in the Somali mind). Saints, I even invite you to come and have coffee at a Somali coffee shop and pray for them while you drink their coffee. In my heart I feel that by moving away from shopping centres we are also enabling their “takeover”.
Saints, let us walk and pray around the areas where Somalis have found a home. We may be sorry later if we do not make use of the opportunities now.