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News Code: 878


World Muslims Pray For Mandela

World Muslims worldwide have paid tribute to the late international icon Nelson Mandela, as South Africa Muslims called for prayers for the former president, his family and friends.

“The greatest gift one can give to a human being is freedom and that is what Mandela did for all South Africans,” Ganief Hendricks, a leader of Al Jama-Ah political party, said in a statement cited by South Africa’s Independent.

“The party has asked all Muslims to observe all protocols as Muslim leaders from every Arab and Muslim country visit South Africa over the next two weeks to pay their respects to the country and comfort South Africans.”

Paying tribute to the departing leader, Hendricks said that Muslim world had the highest regard for Mandela.

The party would pay tribute to Mandela by feeding the poor and participating in other programs over the next week, said Hendricks.

Speaking in a nationally televised address, President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela’s death late on Thursday.

President Zuma added on Friday that Mandela will be buried on Sunday, Dec. 15.

Moreover, a memorial service in a Johannesburg stadium will be held for the anti-apartheid leader on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Zuma said that Mandela’s body will lie in state at government buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday, Dec. 11, until the burial.

Jailed for 27 years for fighting white minority rule, Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994.

Mandela won a Nobel Peace Prize for preaching racial harmony and guiding the nation peacefully into the post-apartheid era.

Mandela, popularly known by his clan name "Madiba", has a history of lung problems dating back to his time at the windswept Robben Island prison camp near Cape Town.

Muslims make up some 1.5 percent of South Africa’s 53 million population, according to the CIA fact book.

Arabs & Muslims

Reacting to the news of Mandela’s death, Egypt’s presidency released an official obituary statement, reflecting on Mandela’s fight for justice and the struggle to end apartheid.

“Egypt had a leading role in supporting the resistance of African countries to reach their freedom and independence. Because of its hard stance against racial discrimination in South Africa, Egypt did not hesitate to cut diplomatic relations with South Africa’s former racist government,” al-Masry al-Youm website quoted the statement as saying.

“He will remain in the hearts and mind of Egyptians as one of the most prominent symbols of national struggle in the modern world,” added the statement.

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani tweeted: “With a heavy heart, we say goodbye to Nelson Mandela. Surely, his legacy will remain a source of #inspiration and courage for all people.”

Pakistan’s former Interior Minister Rehman Malik, like a number of Pakistani figures, also took to Twitter to mourn the Mandela’s loss.

“The world has lost Nelson Mandela a great leader and symbol of struggle. May God bless his soul in peace,” Malik tweeted.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also commented on Mandela‘s death, highlighting the former South African leader’s stand with the Palestinian cause.

“The Palestinian people will never forget his historic statement that the South African revolution will not have achieved its goals as long as the Palestinians are not free,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted by AFP as saying.

Influential Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called Mandela “one of the biggest supporters of our cause,” according to Reuters.

“Today a great freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela has died, one of the world's most important symbols of freedom,” Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, was quoted by Reuters as saying.