The Call of Islam, in many ways, was my youth. The year 1984, when the organization was founded, was also my matric year. Some of the first recruits for the organization came from my very own matric class; others were then recruited from my fellow first-year students at the University of Cape Town.
Besides me, the other three founding members of the Call of Islam were Ebrahim Rasool, Shamiel Manie, and Farid Esack. Rasool was not just a fellow founding member; we grew up together, and our parents served on the same mosque committee. Esack was my principal from the As Salaam College in KwaZulu Natal, where I studied Islam in 1983. Manie and I were fellow members of the Muslim Student Association that gave us our grounding in seeing Islam broader than just religious rituals.
Our circle before the founding of the Call of Islam met in the back rooms of our different family homes and when Esack hosted our get-togethers in his apartment. So we shared space, we shared money, and we even shared each others clothes. It was no coincidence that our first rally should be at Primrose Park mosque, Masjidus Sabireen, as Primrose Park (in the Western Cape, South Africa) is where Rasool and I lived. We grew up in that mosque, and we knew all its successive imams and, of course, the mosque committee.
Later, our first headquarters (for many years) would be the outbuildings of my parents home in Primrose Park, where we held our executive meetings, conducted our adult classes, and even made our banners. Allie Parker, our reliable and indulgent printer, had his printing works in a neighboring suburb in Greenhaven.
It was therefore tempting to write a story of the Call of Islam, which is a personal account.