Mosque attack condemned

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Portfolio Committee on Police has joined religious bodies in strongly condemning the attack on a mosque in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, which left one person dead.

Chairperson Francois Beukman described the alleged attack as shocking and said the South African Police Service (SAPS) should prioritise the investigation.

“A mosque is a religious institution, and South Africa’s Constitution guarantees and protects the right to religious practices.

“This kind of attack on three innocent people is totally unjustified. We want our communities to live in harmony, practising their religions without fear,” he said.

According to KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa, at about 2pm on Thursday, three unknown men entered the mosque on the Old Main Road in Ottawa after the midday prayer.

They allegedly attacked three people and stabbed them. They further set certain rooms alight before fleeing in a getaway vehicle.

Major General Langa said the victims were taken to hospital for medical attention. One of the victims succumbed to his injuries on arrival at the hospital.

The motive of the attack on the three men is unknown at this stage, but Major General Langa confirmed that the Verulam police are investigating a case of murder and two counts of attempted murder and arson. No arrests have been made as yet.

“Such criminality cannot be tolerated. A team of investigators has been dispatched to solve the case and bring perpetrators to book,” Major General Langa said.

Various Muslim organisations in the country are calling for calm in the community following the attack, while calling on the police to bring the perpetrators to book.

The Muslim Judicial Council said the attack – so violent and repulsive in nature – is unprecedented in South African history.

“We remind South Africans that the makeup of our society is one of religious, cultural and ethnic diversity and tolerance. These qualities are what makes South Africa so unique as a country. We should make every effort possible to preserve our uniqueness and diversity from all forms of threats.”

The council said the authorities must do the necessary criminal investigations so the perpetrators can be brought to book and face the full might of the law. -