Call on Hawks to find perpetrators of Mosque Attack

On Thursday 10 May 2018, South Africans witnessed an unprecedented and horrific attack on the Imam Husayni Mosque in Ottowa, about 30 kilometers from Durban and a few kilometres from Verulam. The assailants of this mosque brutally murdered Mr. Abbas Essop by slitting his throat and stabbed two others (Muhammad Ali and the local Imam, Ali Nchinyane). The mosque’s library was thereafter set alight by a petrol bomb. In a subsequent investigation, a sinister device attached to a cellphone was found under a chair used by Imam Ali Nchinyane. According to news reports, the bomb squad entered the masjid after this device was found. The South African Police Force had to ask people to move further away from the mosque and residents on the street said they were asked to evacuate their homes temporarily

We express our deep concern and distress that since the attack on the Imam Husayni Mosque in Ottowa the perpetrators are still at large. The attack had all the hallmarks of the politically motivated sectarian violence that has ravaged the Middle-East in recent times.

We are concerned about the future safety of our community. During this Ramadan many mosques have taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their congregants and we are grateful that no subsequent attacks have taken place. We fear, however, that if the perpetrators of this abominable attack get away with it and are not found and arrested they may well be emboldened to commit further attacks.

We are also concerned by the unsubstantiated speculations and vicious rumour mongering that this has generated. In the aftermath of the Imam Husain mosque attack in Durban, there were malicious rumours that Egyptians had orchestrated the attacks, and this later changed to Iranians. The speculations have not been helped by the fact that no-one has been bold enough to claim responsibility for this heinous act.

We must therefore also not be naïve to the possibilities of outside forces intent on sowing discord amongst Muslims by exploiting the vulnerabilities of people’s sectarian views. The source of these rumours should therefore form part of the investigation to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

We once again call on the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Hawks to intensify investigations, find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. We call on all South African citizens to cooperate with our police services in finding the perpetrators of the dastardly attack on the Ottowa mosque and to bring them to justice.

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