Explosive device found at mosque

2018-05-24 06:01
Rusa officers at the Imam Hussain Mosque.PHOTO: supplied

Rusa officers at the Imam Hussain Mosque.PHOTO: supplied

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THE officials of the Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa have confirmed that the building will remain closed for almost three weeks following the attack last week.

Three people were injured and one killed after unknown men attacked the mosque on Thursday, May 10.

Abbas Essop died on route to Albert Luthuli Hospital after his throat was slit in the attack. Two other victims, Moulana Ali Nchinyane and Ali Muhammad sustained serious injuries.

The unknown suspects entered in the mosque and attacked the victims using sharp objects. The suspects then burnt part of the mosque and fled the scene.

Chairperson and founder of the mosque Azad Seedat told the Weekly that the extensive damaged was caused when a fire broke out on the day of the attack.

“We still need to clean up the place. We are looking at closing it for about three weeks for renovations,” Seedat said.

Seedat said that he suspected that the attack was orchestrated by people who are fanatical about the Islam religion.

“I suspect that the attack to the mosque was carried out by extremists of Islam. We may have differences [in religion] but that doesn’t mean you have to kill another person. We are all preaching the message of the Prophet [Muhammad],” Seedat said.

Seedat urged the community and devotees to remain calm and allow the investigation of the police and Hawks to unfold.

Police minister Bheki Cele visited the Essop family on Sunday.

One of the first respondents at the scene Prem Balram from Reaction Unit South Africa said that the suspects were wearing balaclavas and fled in a white Hyundai vehicle with no registration plates.

On Sunday afternoon, worshippers found an explosive device resembling a bomb.

The device connected to a Nokia cellphone was placed beneath the Moulana’s chair.

The explosive unit was alerted and they took the device for investigation purposes.

Preliminary investigations revealed that it was an explosive device that was designed for burning.

“The worshippers are all in total shock after the incident. However, we are not intimidated. Muslims are being killed all over the world. This incident does not intimidate us at all,” Seedat said.

The United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) has condemned the attack. Secretary General Yusuf Patel said that the council was still in shock after the incident.

“We condemn these unjustifiable acts of violence, which foster nothing but tension, mistrust and insecurity within communities.

“UUCSA calls for calm in this tragedy and for the law to take its course in ensuring that justice is served and the perpetrators be prosecuted,” Patel said.

Hawks spokesperson in KZN Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said that they were investigating the case of murder, attempted murder and arson.

“A case of endangering life or property by means of burning was registered in the Verulam Police Station and no arrest has been made at this stage.

“The motive for the attack is unknown,” Mhlongo said.

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