Muslims in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria appealed on Monday to authorities to compel a major teaching hospital in the city to provide them with a prayer facility.
"For three years now, we have been asking authorities to provide us with a prayer room at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital but they have ignored our call," social activist Yusuf Abramjee told Anadolu Agency.
He said he had filed a complaint on behalf of Muslims to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities to arbitrate in the matter.
"There are many Muslim doctors, staff and patients who keep coming to the hospital but they don’t have a place to perform their prayers," he said. Muslims are required to pray five times a day.
The activist claimed Christians had been allocated a prayer facility at the hospital. "We are ready to furnish and maintain our own facility if we are given space," he said.
Ibrahim Vawdwa, a researcher at the Johannesburg-based Media Review Network (MRN), a Muslim advocacy group, told Anadolu Agency that Muslims had been given prayer facilities at most public spaces including airports and they would appreciate it if the hospital gave them space.
He said South Africa's constitution respected freedom of worship and Muslims enjoyed good relations with other faith groups in the country.
The spokesman of the provincial Department of Health, Lesemang Matuka told Anadolu Agency that they had heard of the issue and would communicate to the media on the matter "in due course".
Muslims make up about 2 percent of South Africa's 55-million population. Regardless of their numbers, they play an important role in the country’s economy, including trade, academia and politics.