Faizel Patel – 26/04/2021
One of the oldest masjid’s in South Africa has been vandalised with messages of hate and statements of deliberate Islamophobia during the blessed month of Ramadan.
The historic Masjid Aziez built during the colonial period in the 1900’s and located in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape was desecrated by criminals last week Thursday.
Masjid Aziez also known as the Pier Street masjid which has a link to the Ottoman Empire is the third oldest masjid in Port Elizabeth and fourth oldest in the Eastern Cape.
Speaking to Radio Islam, Ml Salmaan Fredericks says the act of criminality depicting hate towards Allah and Muslims was executed to make worshippers fear being in Allah’s house.
“I initially thought nothing of it. But it was not until my sister and my wife spoke to me about it and I understood the impact that these words had on parts of our congregation that they felt uncomfortable now being in the masjid, that they were concerned about the security at the masjid. Then I realised that this act of vandalism was planned, it took place deliberately in the month of Ramadan, the messages were very deliberate and I think it had a purpose of creating a fear within us.”
Ml Fredericks says the masjid committee have reported the incident to the local police and municipality who said they would investigate, but the Musallees do not have a lot of hope of any results because of the nature of the crime.
Ml Fredericks says Masjid Aziez represents a symbol of resistance against the apartheid government.
“There was a period in time where the local authorities wanted to demolish the masjid in favour of building a highway. South African ulama across the country lobbied and some say received international support against that demolition.”
Ml Fredericks says Masjid Aziez’s committee has long lobbied local authorities to fence up the masjid compound as it is a heritage site which is frequently under the attack of criminals, adding that perhaps it is time to protect the house of Allah which is a monument to our past and the vehicle of our future.
Listen to the interview with Ml Salmaan Fredericks