On start of Ramadan‚ security upgraded at site of mosque attack
As muslims enter the holy month of Ramadan‚ security at the Imam Hussain mosque in Verulam will be boosted in the wake of last week’s attacks.
The mosque’s founder‚ Azaad Seedat‚ said that CCTV cameras would be installed in and around the building. “The Hawks have given the building back to us and the work has begun on renovating the damaged areas. We are also beefing up security and installing cameras‚” he said.
The Hawks had taken over the investigation after it was found to have elements of "extremism".
Seedat was speaking at a press briefing hosted by the National Interfaith Council of South Africa (Nicsa) at Durban’s city hall on Thursday.
The discovery of a pipe bomb at the mosque on Sunday came four days after a bloody knife attack which claimed the life of bystander Abbas Essop.
Essop‚ a mechanic‚ charged headlong into the mosque in the small town‚ north of Durban‚ after three knife-wielding men stormed the building after midday prayers.
The caretaker and muezzin (the man tasked with leading the call to prayer)‚ Muhammad Ali‚ had noticed the men at the gate and‚ thinking they were coming to pray‚ let them inside. Once on the property‚ the men attacked Ali and Moulana Ali Nchiyane with knives before torching the mosque’s library. Essop died in hospital from fatal knife wounds.
Seedat thanked the clergymen for their support and condolences on the back of the attacks.
Bishop Timothy Ngcobo of Nicsa said that their leaders were in the planning phase of a peace walk to the Ottawa mosque. “What happened that day cannot be allowed to become a trend here. We are sending a clear message of support with our muslim brothers and we are planning to rally around that community.”
Experts have said the attacks could signify an escalation in tensions between Sunni and Shia muslims.
In South Africa‚ the Sunni denomination accounts for the majority of the muslim population – estimated to be about 3% of the country’s 56-million people.
The Shia mosque‚ established in 2010‚ is one of only three in the country‚ and has come under threat before.