PRESS STATEMENT – Friday 11 May 2018
CMRM Condemns Attack on Imam Hussain Masjid in Durban
The Claremont Main Road Masjid (CMRM) condemns the barbaric attack on the Imam Hussain Mosque in Verulam, outside Durban. The attack on Thursday afternoon left one person dead and two others maimed while the building was also set on fire.
We offer our deep condolences to the family of those killed, and the congregants of this mosque who no doubt are now reeling in shock and fear. The mosque was known to be a Shi’a mosque, and at this stage the incident appears to be an anti-Shi’a attack.
CMRM has for the past five years been sounding the alarm about the growing threat of anti-Shi’a sectarianism creeping into our local community. We are appalled at the prospect of this now being a reality.
It is now most important and urgent for Muslims in South Africa to take a stand and speak out loudly against sectarianism, specifically anti-Shi’a sectarianism.
Among the concrete ways in which this can be done is to embrace and endorse the Cape Accord. This is a document that was collectively drawn up and signed by prominent Muslim organizations, including CMRM, in December 2017. The Cape Accord embraces the spirit of the Amman Message signed in 2005 by more than 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide, which aimed to capture Islam’s core values of compassion, mutual respect, tolerance, acceptance and freedom of religion. The Cape Accord calls on Communities to Unite Against Hate Speech and Discord, and to promote intra-Muslim tolerance and cooperation.
This document, and the sentiments that it holds, needs to be circulated and popularised in our communities. Ordinary Muslims need to familiarise themselves with the content of the Cape Accord and the direction it offers towards greater tolerance and good-neighbourliness amongst and between differing Muslim groups.
At the same time, other prominent Muslim institutions and leaders must be encouraged to also sign and endorse the Cape Accord.
South African Muslims can in no way allow themselves to go down the path of hatred, intolerance, violence, and brutal attacks on Shi’a Muslims as has been the case in several other parts of the world. We must recognize that the fomenting of anti-Shi’a sectarianism has fuelled the many geo-political conflicts we see in the Middle East today. Let us stop this now, and never allow such sectarianism to blight our local community.
We call on the South African Police Services (SAPS) to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice. We call on local communities to assist SAPS in doing so speedily.
We pray for the victims and their families and for the protection of the voices that challenge the hateful rhetoric of anti-Shi`a sectarianism.
Imam Dr. Rashied Omar
OBO CMRM Board