“Hands that serve are greater than lips that pray”

A joint Muslim-Christian initiative for the homeless was officially launched in Durban’s inner-city on June 17.

On this day, Muslim and Christian leaders – including Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and the Chief Trustee of the Grey Street Mosque, Mr AV Mahomed, both patrons of the Denis Hurley Centre, formally launched and blessed this joint project at the Centre, alongside Durban’s iconic Emmanuel Cathedral.

The Cathedral, through its Nkosinathi Project, has been feeding homeless people in the Warwick Junction area for many years. Similarly the Grey Street Mosque and SANZAF (SA National Zakah Fund) through their various initiatives have been feeding homeless people in the same area. Now the Muslim community, which supported the construction of the Denis Hurley Centre, has decided to link up with the Christian community in feeding homeless people in the area.

Since January 2015 the Nkosinathi project has been operating from the Denis Hurley Centre with its professional kitchen, dining room and showers.

“On June 17, the day before the fast of Ramadan, we will officially launch this joint Muslim-Christian initiative for the homeless, perhaps the only one in Africa. Each organisation participating in this exciting initiative brings experience, staff members, keen volunteers, donors and goodwill to the project and all share a commitment to treating homeless people with dignity and helping them restore their self-respect,” explained Raymond Perrier, Director of the Denis Hurley Centre.

Father Stephen Tully, Administrator of Emmanuel Cathedral adds: “If we do not serve the poor and vulnerable, our service is shallow and weak and often self- serving. All true religions have a call to help the destitute and we need more occasions for neighbours of different religions and cultures to interact and engage with each other. Faith groups need to be more courageous and should get more involved in helping the city solve challenges like homelessness and unemployment rather than being critical of them.”

Mr AV Mahomed hoped that this partnership would lead to the Islamic medical team and counselling services getting on board, and could include the services of the IPCI to support the DHC in providing increased care for the inner city’s poor. He said: “Humanity means one family. It has no religion, no gender, no barrier. Feeding your neighbour is important. One should get together to serve God, not for name and fame, but as a duty for fellow human beings.”

“When you serve humanity, you serve God,” endorsed Consul General of India in Durban, Rajagopalan Raghunathan.

There were scripture readings from the Koran and the Bible, and Christian, Muslim and Hindu prayers. The faith leaders joined SANZAF in handing out blankets to the city’s poor, prior to the homeless receiving a meal at the DHC.
Cardinal Napier blessing the project – flanked by representatives from the Juma Masjid Grey Street mosque, SANZAF, faith leaders and homeless men and women

For more information contact Paddy Kearney – paddy@denishurleycentre.org – 072 806 4417