Shared Religion: #Islamigration, Integration & International Relations – A Case Study of Somali Muslims in Mayfair

This occasional paper, which emanated from a dissertation briefly explored Islam as a shared religion amongst two diverse groups, Somalis and South African Indians, and its role in influencing migration choices, integration and international views. A common religion between migrants and hosts is only one variable for migrants to factor into their life decisions when leaving home. The extent of how important this factor is and how it continues to affect their lives once migrating was discussed with Somalis living in Mayfair. The study proposed a baseline model for understanding this research, and the need for it by comparing the topic at hand to a parallel in Islamic history: The Hijrah. The Somalis view themselves as seeking refuge with the Muslims in Mayfair (South Africa). The relationship established between the Ansaar and Muhajireen was one of mutual coexistence and understanding. The latter were welcomed into Madinah and assisted in the early stages in every way. However, the Muhajireen did not abuse this hospitality and sought to use it only as a spring board to build them up. From the beginning, the Ansaar and Muhajireen were brothers to one another on the basis of a shared religion with all its joys, difficulties and contradictions. The journey of a Somali refugee is often characterized by struggles to establish themselves in different communities and lands. Throughout, their choices are governed by religion; freedom to practice Islam, access to mosques, prayer times, halaal food, madressas and Muslims for social interaction.