The Sayed Mahmud mazaar in Constantia was set alight this morning, allegedly by two men who entered the premises under the guise of wanting to perform Fajr prayers. According to the caretaker who lives on site at the karamat at 17 Summit Way, the men approached the remote-controlled gates at about 06h10 this morning asking to perform Fajr salah. They were allowed onto the premises by the caretaker, who then went back to his living quarters.
When the caretaker came out of his home, he was shocked to see the karamat on fire, with the two suspects running from the scene.
The fire damaged the carpet and a Quran casing, while the walls and the inside of the green dome were blackened by the flames. Miraculously, the Qurans were not damaged.
Speaking to VOC News, the maintenance manager, who lives off-site, said the caretaker was not suspicious of the men, as many Muslims would come to perform prayers at the mazaar. Unfortunately, he did not get a good look at them as it was still dark at the time.
The maintenance manager is opening a case at the police station. There are no cameras on the premises, however, he is confident that footage from the neighbour’s cameras would be able to identify the suspects. He expressed his shock and sadness at the incident, questioning how anyone could be as brazen to set the sacred space alight.
Sayed Mahmud was a spiritual and religious leader of the Malaccan Empire and is said to be one of the religious advisors captured with Sheikh Abdurahman Matebe Shah. He was also banished to Constantia in the Cape.
The Shrine is situated some distance from the road on “Islam Hill” in Groot Constantia and is magnificent in its beauty. The grounds are maintained by the Shah Mahomed Trust.
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said it is highly distressed and dismayed at the arson attack. In a statement, the MJC said Kramats in the Cape are graves of influential Muslims who, under the yoke of oppression and torture, spread the religion of Islam.
“The blatant disrespect shown toward Muslim burial sites – especially those that we revere – and to the dead is a cause of great concern,” said Head of the Cometary Board and 2nd Deputy President of the MJC, Shaykh Riad Fataar.
“In the past there seemed to have been attempts at the same thing, and it stopped. We hope this is not a resurgence of the same.”
The MJC calls upon anyone with information to contact the police or the Cape Mazaar Society immediately so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice. VOC