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Somali community saddened by Malmesbury attack

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The Somali community of South Africa say they are appalled by the tragic chain of events that unfolded at the Malmesbury masjid on Thursday morning, which puts a dark stain on the sacred month of Ramadan. Residents of the quiet West Coast town are reeling after two musallees were killed inside the Mosque. Early this morning, a man alleged to be of Somali origin, stabbed two men in itikaaf, leaving two others seriously injured. He was subsequently killed by a police following a standoff with officers.

While the motive for the attack is not yet known, police are seriously looking into whether the incident is related to another mosque attack, which took place in Verulem, Durban last month. No arrests have been made so far. Two musallees were stabbed in a similar fashion at that mosque and died shortly afterwards. . While most commentators have remained tight lipped on any speculation, the attack appears to have been well co-ordinated.

Amir Shaikh of the Somali Community Board says the incident is unfortunate and that the Somali community is equally appalled by the tragedy.

“We send our condolences to all the families that have been affected by this tragedy. We are told the perpetrator is of Somali origin and our hope is that this does not have an affect the good existing relations between the Somali and the South African Muslim community.”

According to some reports, the suspect was said to have a mental illness and displayed odd behaviour before he targeted his victims.

The Somali Community Board is speaking to the South African authorities to see how they can work together in preventing further attacks. Members of the board are on the way to Malmesbury this afternoon.
“We are told the attacker was new to the country, but that does not change the story, we still have to confront this issue,” said Shaikh.

He said South Africa has relatively enjoyed religious tolerance and such attacks are have never been witnessed before. He added that the recent developments will be of great concern to both the authorities as well as the Muslim fraternity at large. VOC

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