Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) – Strong condemnation of the Church in South Africa for the attack on the Malmesbury mosque, a small town 65 km north of Cape Town, on 14 June. "On behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa, and the Catholic Church, we wish to express our deep shock and abhorrence of the recent atrocity at the Malmesbury Mosque", says a statement sent to Agenzia Fides by His Exc. Mgr. Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC). "We offer condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this brutal attack and pray that the Almighty will give them comfort and consolation. We also pray that the community of the Malmesbury Mosque who have been traumatized by the violation of a sacred space will receive strength and solace".
The attack was committed by a man armed with a knife who entered the mosque early in the morning of June 14th. The perpetrator stabbed four people, of whom two, including the 74-year-old imam, died, and was later killed by the police. This is the second attack on a South African mosque in one month. On 10 May, shortly after the midday prayer, three men armed with guns and knives entered the Imam Hussein Mosque in Verulam, Durban, and after having stabbed three people, they set fire to the place (see Fides 11/5/2018 ). The Iman was killed, while the other two people were injured.
"A month has passed since the attack on the Mosque near Verulam and we encourage the Police Services to continue working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to book", remarks Mgr. Brislin. "Although the circumstances of the Malmesbury attack appear to be different from that of Verulam, nonetheless there needs to be a full investigation as to the motivation of both attacks".
The President of the SACBC concludes by launching an appeal so that these episodes are not exploited with the aim of throwing the Country into chaos. "We will not allow those with sinister motives to set one faith against another, nor to exacerbate tension within faith groups. We appeal to all South Africans to express their unconditional respect for human life and their commitment to work for peace". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/6/2019)