Mosques des­e­cra­tion probe

Pig snout and blood at­tacks con­demned by pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and po­lit­i­cal par­ties

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Aphiwe Dek­lerk

TWO in­ci­dents in which mosques were des­e­crated should be treated like ter­ror at­tacks, the Mus­lim Ju­di­cial Coun­cil says. The call came af­ter a pig’s snout was left on the gate of Si­mon­stown Mosque and an in­truder smeared blood in­side Kalk Bay Mosque.

Po­lice con­firmed they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing both in­ci­dents, which have been con­demned by City of Cape Town mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille and Western Cape premier He­len Zille. The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment con­demned the two “de­spi­ca­ble” at­tacks.

“Both in­ci­dents made cal­cu­lated use of Is­lam­o­pho­bic meth­ods, in­clud­ing blood and – in the Si­mon­stown case – a pig’s head,” the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment said.

“The sim­i­lar­ity of the cases, and prox­im­ity of the mosques, raises con­cerns that the two in­ci­dents may be linked.”

Zille’s spokesman, Michael Mpofu, said: “We con­demn th­ese acts of des­e­cra­tion and van­dal­ism in the strong­est terms.

“Our so­ci­ety is founded on con­sti­tu­tional val­ues of re­spect, tol­er­ance and free­dom.

“Acts of re­li­gious or racial prej­u­dice have no place in our prov­ince and na­tion.”

The pro­vin­cial branch of the ANC con­demned the at­tacks as “dis­gust­ing” and called on South Africans “to stand united in pro­tect­ing the cul­ture of co­ex­is­tence”.

Mus­lim Ju­di­cial Coun­cil (MJC) spokesman Shuaib Ap­pleby said po­lice should ap­proach the in­ci­dents as ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Even though peo­ple are not be­ing killed [they must treat them] with the same kind of dili­gence and the same kind of ex­per­tise,” he said.

“It is im­por­tant also that [the mosques] should be treated as crime scenes, mean­ing no ev­i­dence should be erased. If any other mosque is at­tacked, they should keep it as such un­til the po­lice ar­rive.”

Ap­pleby said the per­pe­tra­tors may not have used bombs but their vi­o­la­tion of the sanc­tity of the mosques had the same ef­fect as a petrol bomb.

Kalk Bay Mosque imam Ah­mad Sity said mem­bers were still wait­ing for the po­lice to com­plete their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He played down fears of a co­or­di­nated Is­lam­o­pho­bic cam­paign, say­ing that could be con­firmed only af­ter the po­lice com­pleted their in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Sity said the care­taker at the mosque – which is more than 110 years old – had made the dis­cov­ery early on Mon­day.

“He opened the mosque for first prayers and found the walls sprayed with blood, and also the pul­pit. “It was like from a sy­ringe,” Sity said. Plaques had also been ripped from the walls and left ly­ing on the floor. “It was very dis­turb­ing.” Noth­ing was stolen. Po­lice spokesman F C van Wyk said cases of crimen in­juria and ma­li­cious dam­age to prop­erty had been opened.

No ar­rests had been made, Van Wyk said.

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