The Muslim community in Malmesbury is reeling following a deadly attack at a mosque in the Swartland town early on Thursday. Two worshipers were stabbed to death and the attacker shot and killed by police.
The motive for the attack has not yet been established.
The attack comes on the eve of Eid ul Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan. Police were called to the scene and also came under attack by the perpetrator who refused to surrender himself.
Detectives have been combing the scene for clues. The family of the deceased say they are shocked by the incident. 72-year-old Ismail Bassa, who was in the Mosque, is one of the deceased.
”We started Ramadan as a tragic event in Durban and we’re ending Ramadan tragically here in Malmesbury. And it’s really a sad Ramadan for us as a community and as a family. It’s sad,” says Imraahn Mukaddam, Bassa’s family member.
Siyad Hasan Hidig was also killed in the attack.
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) rushed to the scene. MJC president Sheikh Irfaan Abrahams has called for calm in the area.
“We hope that this is just an isolated incident and we hope that a we are able to bring calm in a poor community and we definitely don’t want another xenophobia situation in the country and we can’t afford that. That is why we are urging calmness and let the Lord do what they need to do.”
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape has expressed shock and sadness at the news of the attack. DA leader in the province, Bonginkosi Madkizela says, “It is a very sensitive issue that people are killed in this way. As the DA, we’ve sent our condolences and hopefully the police will get to the bottom of it. Hopefully Allah will be with our Muslim brothers during this difficult time.”
Both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille, have extended their condolences to the Muslim community following the attack. De Lille has described the attacks as senseless.
“May the blessings of the almighty Allah be with you today. Eid Mubarak. I also send my heartfelt sympathies to the families of the two people who were killed in the senseless attack at the mosque in Malmesbury in the early hours of this morning. May their souls rest in peace.”
The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape says it is concerned about the recent attacks at mosques across the country.
Western Cape ANC Provincial Secretary, Faiez Jacobs says, “This is now the second incident at a mosque. A mosques, like any place, are places of safety, places of worship, places of reflection. And so we are concerned about the killings. We want this to be brought to book. Today, as one community, we are expressing our condolences to all the communities in Malmesbury we are rallying together to just envelope with compassion and empathy.”
Chairperson of Parliament’s Police Committee, Francois Beukman, has raised concern about the two attacks:
“But it’s really a concern to us because it shows that there is also especially in the Verulam case that there might be other motives that we haven’t seen in the South African context before. And there is also some concern within the Muslim Community and an anxiety that copy cat and similar attacks might spread. So it’s important that there should be from the police’s side. The necessary priority dealing with those items and ensuring that there is confidence with regard to the matter. Of course it’s also an intelligence matter.”
Police say this incident is not linked to last month’s Verulam mosque attack in Durban. The victims have been buried according to Muslim rites.