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Oview masjid calls for calm in the wake of gang and mob violence

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The Trustees of the Noorul Islam Mosques Ocean View and Simonstown have condemned the recent violence in Ocean View, sparked by a gang-related shooting which claimed the lives of 7-year-old Emaan Solomans and 31-year-old Abdul Felix.

Chaos broke out after a thikr held in the little girls honour on Wednesday night, which saw the houses of alleged gangsters being set alight.

“Members of the Anti-Gang Unit , Public Order Police, National Intervention Unit, police from neighbouring stations as well as the City of Cape Town’s  Law Enforcement officials are patrolling the area of Ocean View following the torching of four houses in the area on (Wednesday) night at about 11pm. It is alleged that a group of unidentified individuals set the houses alight. Cases of arson were opened for investigation,” confirmed Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

The masjid issued a statement on Friday, empathized with the communities frustration.

“It is with increasing concern and heartache that we, together with the entire community, view the events which have unfolded in Ocean View particularly in the last few days. Our collective hearts bleed for the pain endured by families who have lost loved ones, for the worry of parents for the safety of their cherished children and for all of us affected by the scourge of violence,” read the masjid’s statement.

However, the masjid said it was “shocked and saddened” at the level of violence that was metered out against who residents believe to be gangsters.

“Notwithstanding our deep-felt concern, we wish to make it very clear, that we do NOT support violence in any form.. At the conclusion of a prayers meeting, held at a young victim’s home, a group of individuals instigated others and proceeded to attack and damaged the homes and private properties of certain residents in the area. The saddest part is that the chief perpetrators of this action do not even live in Ocean View!”

Reference was made to a group of people who had travelled to the area from Manenberg, to take part in Emaan’s thikr. Organisers of the mass prayer, the Manenberg Centre for Islamic Information and Education, also condemned the acts of “vigilantism” and emphasized that the centre strives to promote peace and justice.

“We hereby state categorically that we, the Trustees of the Noorul Islam Mosques, condemn these acts of lawlessness and vandalism. Violence only begets violence and we will not solve our crime issues by being more violent than those who perpetrate the crimes. As angry as we feel, as much as we desire to fight back with guns and other weaponry, as much as we want to retaliate, such behaviour will only feed the flames of criminality and mayhem and many innocent lives could well be lost.”

According to reports, there were also threats to burn down the masjid, as muslim members in the community stopped those becoming destructive. According to the masjid, burning down a place of worship points to a deterioration of moral values.

“As a result of the attacks on private properties on Wednesday night, our mosque was threatened and we are grateful to those who rallied at the mosque to protect it from any possible attack. The mosque, like the churches, is a place of worship. Its sanctity must be preserved. It must be a place of tranquillity, a place of harmony, a place of peace. Have we stooped so low that there are those amongst us who threaten to burn down a house of God?”

The masjid committee appealed to the community to remain calm in order to strategize a constructive way forward.

“Now is the time for cool heads, calm heads and for clear focus in order to plot the way forward – a way that is inclusive of everyone in Ocean View.”

The masjid said it is engaging with several stakeholders.

“As Trustees of the Mosques, we hereby reiterate our commitment to work with all peace-loving citizens and orginisations to eradicate violence and crime in our community. We have engaged and continue to have discussions with law enforcement agencies, the MJC and other groupings. How many more must die at the hands of criminals in order for us to arise from our slumber.”

An appeal was made for grieving community members to keep calm and encourage each other to focus on those within their homes first.

“We urge everyone in Ocean View to become active citizens in their own homes and streets, to join progressive programs aimed at addressing this problem, and thereby, to indeed make a difference.”

“Enough is indeed enough – but we should not allow our actions to be like those of the gangsters. We are people of Faith, people of Love, people of Peace.”

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran, “If anyone kills an innocent human being, it is as if he has

killed the whole of Humanity.” (Surah 5 Verse 32)

“May Allah Almighty protect us from this evil, may He guide us through this difficult time and may His mercy cover all of us and our actions. Ameen,” read the statement.

VOC


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