From the news desk

Questions raised over safekeeping of kramats

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With ongoing forensic investigations into the fire that partially damaged a kramat in Constantia on Tuesday, questions are being raised about the safe-keeping of graves of individuals who have for centuries been revered by the local Muslim community. The Sayed Mahmud Kramat was set alight around 06h00 on Tuesday morning, allegedly by two men who entered the precinct under the guise of wanting to perform Fajr [morning prayers].

After being allowed entry into the premises, the caretaker left to his living quarters and upon his return he found the kramat alight and the two suspects fleeing.

Ebrahim, the caretaker and Faizel Bassier, the maintenance manager, recalls what happened in this interview. Click here:

The incident has since been met with anger by the local Muslim community who have called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to book.

The chairperson of the Cape Mazaar Society, Mahmoud Limbada, explained that the fire at the Sayed Mahmud Kramat has raised concern about safety measures implemented at local mazaaraat.

“There is generally access control and the mazaar is closed from 20h00 until 08h00, which is actually for security reasons and so that neighbours don’t get disturbed by loud thikr,” Limbada stated.

“We have had a case like this, but it wasn’t an arson case, it was just some graffiti written on the wall at Signal Hill kramat, Shaykh Mohamad Hassen Ghaibie Shah, that was a few years ago, but then suddenly it stopped,” he elaborated.

He said that camera’s need to be installed at the entrance to the mazaar.

According to Limbada, a neighbour to the mazaar did capture the vehicles in CCTV footage, but it must still be ascertained whether the registration number is legible.

“This arson is getting out of hand, getting a bit worrying and it’s disheartening to see such things happening [where] people don’t even respect the sanctity of the place of a wali of Allah.

“It is worrying that it is creeping into our country, which is very tolerant towards freedom of religion – it is a beautiful and peaceful country compared to other parts of the world,” he added.

Meanwhile, trustee of the Shah Mahomed Trust, Professor Faadiel Essop, said the motive behind the attack is yet to be established.

“They came in with a vehicle as well and so he couldn’t get any details regarding the vehicle or the two persons.”

Essop further noted that the damage to the kramat was thankfully minor. This after the trust spent close to a decade refurbishing the site.

“Fortunately, nobody was injured and secondly the damage was relatively minor; there is some damage to some carpentry that was recently installed and then there is some damage to the actual gravesite as well, but fortunately it’s not too bad,” he continued.

VOC 91.3fm

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