Two incidents in which mosques were desecrated should be treated like terror attacks, the Muslim Judicial Council says. The call came after a pig’s snout was left on the gate of Simonstown Mosque and an intruder smeared blood inside Kalk Bay Mosque.
Police confirmed they were investigating both incidents, which have been condemned by City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and Western Cape premier Helen Zille. The provincial government condemned the two “despicable” attacks.
“Both incidents made calculated use of Islamophobic methods, including blood and – in the Simonstown case – a pig’s head,” the provincial government said.
“The similarity of the cases, and proximity of the mosques, raises concerns that the two incidents may be linked.”
Zille’s spokesman, Michael Mpofu, said: “We condemn these acts of desecration and vandalism in the strongest terms.
“Our society is founded on constitutional values of respect, tolerance and freedom.
“Acts of religious or racial prejudice have no place in our province and nation.”
The provincial branch of the ANC condemned the attacks as “disgusting” and called on South Africans “to stand united in protecting the culture of coexistence”.
Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) spokesman Shuaib Appleby said police should approach the incidents as terrorist activities.
“Even though people are not being killed [they must treat them] with the same kind of diligence and the same kind of expertise,” he said.
“It is important also that [the mosques] should be treated as crime scenes, meaning no evidence should be erased. If any other mosque is attacked, they should keep it as such until the police arrive.”
Appleby said the perpetrators may not have used bombs but their violation of the sanctity of the mosques had the same effect as a petrol bomb.
Kalk Bay Mosque imam Ahmad Sity said members were still waiting for the police to complete their investigation.
He played down fears of a coordinated Islamophobic campaign, saying that could be confirmed only after the police completed their investigations.
Sity said the caretaker at the mosque – which is more than 110 years old – had made the discovery early on Monday.
“He opened the mosque for first prayers and found the walls sprayed with blood, and also the pulpit. “It was like from a syringe,” Sity said. Plaques had also been ripped from the walls and left lying on the floor. “It was very disturbing.” Nothing was stolen. Police spokesman F C van Wyk said cases of crimen injuria and malicious damage to property had been opened.
No arrests had been made, Van Wyk said.
– Additional reporting by AFP