JOHANNESBURG – In a city with one the highest crime levels in the world, Muslim worshippers praying tarawih prayers in a Johannesburg were attacked y a gang who stormed the mosque, robbing more than 200 Muslim worshippers.
“I was praying when I heard people saying ‘lie on the floor’. The screams were very loud and terrifying. I just knew we were being robbed,” Adam Sadick, a Muslim worshipper at the mosque at the corner of President and Von Brandis streets in the Joburg city centre, told IOL News on Monday, July 7.
“I did not see them come inside. We were facing one direction and praying and they came from behind. It was scary.
“They started searching the pockets of each person, taking all the valuables, such as money and cellphones. I was shaking as I awaited my turn.
“I did not even look at them. I heard that they were armed with guns, but I did not see them.”
Sadick was recalling a gang attack last Thursday when a gang of six members attacked the mosque and robbed worshippers money and mobiles.
Sadick had only a note of R20 and had no cell phone.
“The first guy came and searched my pocket. He only found a R20 note because that’s the only money I had with me. The second guy came and searched my pockets and found nothing,” he said.
“Another one searched me again and also found nothing. I was so scared. I did not know whether they were going to hurt us once they were done with searching us,” he said.
Sadick said he was not surprised he was robbed inside a mosque.
“In this country, you get robbed anywhere. The robbers just want money, they don’t care whether the people they are targeting are in a sacred place.”
After Thursday’s attack, the mosque decided to employ a security guard in the evening.
Muslims make up some 1.5 percent of South Africa’s 49 million-strong population, according to the CIA fact book.
Days after the attack, Muslim worshippers were unabated by the attack on their mosque.
“We can’t let criminals control how we live our lives,” one of the worshippers, who did not want to be identified, said.
“I can’t stop coming to a mosque because there was a robbery on Thursday. God will protect us.”
Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee said the robbers also stole a safe that contained donation money, warning that it was very worrying when places of worship came under attack.
“These criminals have absolutely no respect, and attacking a place of worship again shows the little regard they have for our sacred places,” Abramjee said.
Wishing to arrest the perpetrators, Abramjee appealed to the community to report crime immediately.
“For whatever reason, the robbery at this Johannesburg mosque was only reported to police three days later. Charges have now been opened,” he said.
“We must ensure that every case is reported without delay. If we don’t open charges, we have little to complain about.
“My suspicion is that some of them (the worshippers) are foreigners and that is why they were scared to open a case.
“Irrespective of whether you are a foreigner or not, you must come forward to report a crime.”
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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