Islamophobic attacks target mosques in South Africa's Cape Town
South African authorities have announced rare incidents of Islamophobic attacks on two mosques in the major city of Cape Town, where places of worship were defaced with blood sprayed on walls.
The announcement came in a statement on Tuesday by Western Cape provincial government, which censured the two attacks since Saturday on mosques in Kalk Bay and Simonstown as "despicable."
According to the official statement cited in an AFP report, "Both incidents made calculated use of Islamophobic methods, including blood and, in the Simonstown case, a pig's head."
It further said the two attacks may have been related, adding, "The similarity of the cases, and proximity of the mosques, raises concerns that the two incidents may be linked."
The report quoted Imam Achmat Sity of the 110-year-old Jamiah mosque in Kalk Bay as saying that the caretaker at the house of worship had discovered the act of vandalism early Monday morning.
"He opened the mosque for first prayers and found the walls sprayed with blood and also the pulpit. It was like from a syringe," Sity said, adding that inscription plaques had been ripped from the walls and were strewn on the floor.
"It was very disturbing," he added, but emphasized that nothing was stolen from the mosque.
In the Saturday attack against the Simonstown mosque, the report said, a bloody pig's snout was left on the entrance gate.
The developments came despite South Africa’s history of relative religious tolerance. This is while Western Cape premier, Helen Zille, insisted that "acts of religious or racial prejudice have no place in our province and nation," as quoted in the report.
Moreover, the provincial branch of the country’s ruling party of African National Congress (ANC) also slammed the attacks as "disgusting" and urged South Africans "to stand united in protecting the culture of coexistence."
Muslims in South Africa constitute nearly 1.5 percent of the country’s total population.