A loss for all humanity was the way the leading Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) described the news about Nelson Mandela’s death, asserting that the South African leader will remain an example to those fighting for human rights.
“Throughout his life, Nelson Mandela served as an example of strength in adversity to all those fighting for freedom and justice,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement issued on Thursday, December 5, and obtained by OnIslam.net.
“His legacy of uncompromising perseverance in the face of bigotry and injustice will live on for generations to come.”
Speaking in a nationally televised address, President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela’s death late on Thursday at the age of 95.
“Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rohlihla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” he said.
Mandela would receive a full state funeral, Zuma said, ordering flags to be flown at half mast.
Awad asserted that the African anti-apartheid icon was a unique figure inside and outside his jail cell.
“He was a unique historic figure. From his jail cell, he demonstrated vision and courage, and taught the world the true meaning of steadfastness. Outside his cell, he demonstrated statesmanship, reconciliation and pragmatism,” he said.
“As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ‘For every day on which the sun rises, there is a (reward) for the one who establishes justice among people.'”
CAIR statement also cited the famous Mandela quote: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Jailed for 27 years for fighting white minority rule, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
Mandella 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.