From the news desk

HPark imams form coalition to fight gang violence

A group of Hanover Park imams have warned they will camp outside the houses of drug dealers and gangsters if they refuse to stop the relentless shootings in the community. A coalition of shuyookh has been formed to fight gang warfare in the area, amid an upsurge of violence in recent weeks, in which 10 people have been killed.

During Jumuah last Friday, the imams called for a march the next day, which saw scores of people take to the streets of Hanover Park. According to Maulana Tahaa Rodrigues from Masjidul Iglaas in Hanover Park, the impromptu protest last Saturday yielded positive results. After a three day ceasefire was implemented, religious leaders have reported a lull in gang violence.

“This giant of Islam was awakened by this march. Alhamdullilah, the response was magnificent. The gang leaders have thusfar adhered to the pleas of the community,” said Rodrigues.

But the imams are cautiously optimistic and say the fight is far from over. At a meeting with residents on Wednesday evening, the community forged a plan which will see more drastic action taken against gangsters perpetrating violence. Residents have vowed that any shooter identified will be physically forced out of their homes and taken to the police station.

“If the shooting persists, the community have also decided we will camp outside the merchant or gang leader’s house to work on their nerves. We want to frustrate them until there will be a ceasefire,” Rodrigues stated.

The coalition consists of imams at four masajid including Masjidul Rahmaan, Masjidun-Nur, Masjdul Ihlaas and Masjidu Taqwa in Newfields. The Hanover Park Community Police Forum (CPF) is supporting the coalition and is the direct link to the police. Residents have bemoaned the lacklustre response of the police to gang violence.

“The police are so weak…they have utterly failed us in Hanover Park. Their excuse all the time is that the justice system has failed the country. But we live in the area, and we know what’s happening.”

Rodgrigues said a follow up community meeting will be held on Saturday after Thuhr at Masjidul-Nur in Hanover Park. Residents are encouraged to attend. VOC

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