Malmesbury attack: 'During this challenging time, one thing stood out for the world to see – unity', says MJC

2018-06-19 16:26
Outside the Malmesbury mosque where two people were stabbed to death. (Rodger Bosch/AFP

Outside the Malmesbury mosque where two people were stabbed to death. (Rodger Bosch/AFP

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The Malmesbury religious community united in solidarity around their fellow Muslim residents after two people were killed inside the town's mosque last week and police shot dead the man believed to have been the assailant.

"During this very challenging time, one thing stood out for the world to see – unity," the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said in response to the support shocked mosque congregants have received. 

"This small, quiet town stood firm and supported each other despite their various backgrounds, faiths and cultures," the MJC said in a statement on Tuesday.

SCROLL: Shock and sadness over Malmesbury mosque killing

On behalf of the Malmesbury Mosque Committee and the Malmesbury Muslim community, the MJC also thanked MEC for community safety Dan Plato, Malmesbury's mayor Tijmen van Essen, the municipality, interfaith leaders, the police and the Hawks.

The two people who were stabbed to death were Ismail Bassa, a man who was in his early 70s who lived next door to the mosque, and Siyaad Hassan Hirsi, a married small merchant who had 10 children. 

The chairperson of the Somali Community Board of SA revealed that the name of the man police had shot dead was Noor Abdulle Araale, who was locally known as Noor Turaayo.

Tree planted in show of solidarity

The MJC said that a church's congregants also planted and handed over, on Sunday, an olive tree "as a display of love, unity and solidarity" toward the Malmesbury Muslim community.

"Sentiments like those shown, showcase that South Africans can live together in a multireligious, multicultural society with respect, reverence and understanding."

The MJC asked the public not to spread rumours about what led to the stabbing of the two men and the police's shooting of the third, and urged them to wait until the investigation has been completed.

READ: Malmesbury mosque attacker had been treated for bipolar disorder

There was also an urgent meeting on Monday, convened after the attack, for representatives of people who have moved to South Africa from Somalia, the MJC and the Somali Ambassador to South Africa, Jamal Mohamed Barrow.

The MJC said in a statement afterwards that they regarded the tragedy as an isolated incident.

"The MJC recognises the role and invaluable contribution of the Somali community towards fellow South Africans and our economy. This community has integrated most wonderfully with the South African community. Many have become South African citizens."

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