NEWS
14/06/2018 13:15 SAST | Updated 14/06/2018 13:15 SAST

Another Attack On A Mosque Leaves Muslim Community Reeling

There has been another attack on a mosque, this time, in Cape Town.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
Police investigators collect evidence at a mosque where three men were attacked in Ottawa, South Africa, May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

While the police are scheduled to provide feedback to Parliament on the first attack, on Thursday, another attack on the Muslim community has added to what is increasingly being reported as a climate of fear and suspicion in the Muslim community. Many wonder if South Africa's Shi'a community is under attack. But why, and by whom, is unclear.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, two Muslim worshippers were killed and several more were injured in an attack at a mosque in Malmesbury in the Western Cape. It is the second attack on a mosque in as many months.

According to News24, the attacker was shot dead by police. Malmesbury police constable Henry Durant reportedly said the attacker started stabbing people at around 3am, as people started readying themselves for prayer. The attacker, a Somali man, was praying with them, he reportedly said.

"There was an old man and he tried to cut the old man's head off and the man died. Other people went to the Swartland hospital. This guy was not in a hurry - he was very calm - he did not run, he walked away. He had a big Rambo knife," Durant reportedly added.

On the 10th of May, three men launched an attack on a mosque in Verulam, Durban, stabbing three people and setting alight parts of the mosque. One person, Shaheed Abbass Essop died in the attack, and two others were taken to hospital.

Days later, worshippers were evacuated from the mosque when they spotted a white PVC pipe with cellphones tied to it under the moulana's chair, according to TimesLive.

The Sunday Tribune reported that the mosque stood empty on Day 2 of Ramadaan. A banner reportedly hung on the gate in memory of Essop.

Mohammed Ali, who was viciously stabbed during the Verulam attack on May 10, went into hiding after being discharged from hospital, News24 reported. Ali was reportedly the caretaker who opened the gate for the attackers, and was assaulted first. The attackers said they wanted to pray.

Noone has been arrested for that attack, the Daily Maverick reported on Thursday. Fear, speculation, and suspicion have reportedly filled the Muslim community across the country.

Imam Rashied Omar from Cape Town's Claremont Road Mosque told Daily Maverick there was a lot of "tension" in the community.

According to the report, Cape Muslim leaders were due to hold a press conference on Monday, announcing the "Cape Accord" – a document reportedly drafted in December calling for tolerance and solidarity between Muslims, in the light of what the community believes is an anti-Shi'a sentiment in the country.

Amid threats directed at the Accord's signatories, the press conference was reportedly called off.