The Muslim Prison Board
The Muslim Prison Board is the official organization recognized by the DCS, representing all Muslim Offenders in the Correctional Centre's. The Muslim Prison Board believes that spiritual guidance is the cornerstone of rehabilitation, transformation, and re-integration, and that Muslim inmates remain at all times a beneficiary of spiritual and religious knowledge through the visits of the respective Muslim Spiritual Care Workers.
One of the primary objectives of the Muslim Prison Board for prison welfare is to regularly visit Muslim Inmates incarcerated in prison and uplift them spiritually by educating them in the fundamentals of Islam and exposing them to Islamic practices. We hope to provide an Islamic alternative to reduce and minimize crime in South Africa.
Visiting of offenders in prisons has been on-going since the late 70's through the efforts of the late Dr Achmat Davids and the late chairman, Imam Abdurahman Bassier. In fact, the South African Muslim Prison Board owes its very existence to Imam Bassier (RA).
Imam Abdurahman Bassier was born 19th January in Port Elizabeth. His father was Imam Abdul-Bassier, Imam and religious leader at the Boorhanul Mosque in Bo-Kaap.
In 1978 he started doing prison missionary work at Robben Island and Pollsmoor prisons. Given the tense political situation as well as the prevailing antipathy towards prisoners, progress was slow. By 1980 with the assistance of Achmat Davids, he established the Muslim Board for Prison Welfare and State Institutions, under the auspices of the MJC, Hospital Welfare Society, Muslim Assembly and Paarl Jamaah. He served as its chairman from 1982 until he fell ill in 2002. He soon realized that Muslims need to have a unified body in its negotiations with State authorities, so he began the long road of setting up a national body. In 1988 the National Muslim Prison Board was established with Imam serving as its co-ordinator until 2002. One of the Board's main achievements has been the appointment of the first Muslim Chaplain, in 1998 viz Moulana Abdul-Aziem Khateeb (hafizhahullah), who still holds this office to this day, alhamdu-lillah.
Imam suffered a stroke in February 2002 at the age of 79 years. Thereafter his activities were severely curtailed. On Saturday morning of the 24th July 2004 he passed away peacefully in the company of his lifetime partner and wife Mareldia. He was buried the following day in the grave of his father, Abdul, at the Mowbray cemetery. (Allah grant him high stages in Jannah, Ameen)
Through the partnership with the Department of Correctional Services, the Muslim Prison Board (MPB) has an effective and comprehensive Muslim Spiritual Care program that permeates a Muslim inmate's life in prison. This is part of an extensive program that seeks to create opportunities by supplying facilities and implementing incentives, with a view to the development and reformation of the offender.
The Muslim Prison Board will always pay tribute to the honorable legacy of Imam Bassier and will remain indebted to the Imam. It is a legacy and experience gained from a great person. Imam was a source of inspiration and encouragement for many of the current members of the Board. His total dedication, commitment, high standards and selfless service are the criteria that many of us aspire.
As the National Muslim Prison Board of South Africa our vision is to be one of the best in the world in delivering Correctional Services with Integrity and Commitment to Excellence.
To render effective Spiritual Care and to advance the relationship between the Inmates and the Department of Correctional Services.