The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) fatwa against the annual New Year's festival by Cape Town's minstrels and 'Malay' choirs has thrown the city's ever present class and race problems back into the spotlight. The fatwa prohibits Muslims from participating in the minstrel troupes, or watching the minstrels - on the grounds that "it is generally degrading and undignified for Muslims to dance around in public with painted faces and colourful clothing".
However, it is not clear why the fatwa was only introduced last year, after many years of the carnival taking place in much the same colourful form as it does today.
The fatwa also forbids members of the 'Malay' choirs, in which many Muslim people participate, from letting loose during "Tweede Nuwe Jaar" or second new year - specifically from "jumping about" in the streets, dancing, and using "unsavoury language".
According to the MJC, Muslims can only participate in the Malay choirs "on condition that one ... does not allow one to be degraded or walk around in an undignified manner through the streets, or to tolerate mixed gatherings