Muslims gather on Thursday outside Malmesbury mosque, where three men were killed. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Muslims gather on Thursday outside Malmesbury mosque, where three men were killed. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

At least two people were stabbed to death and others injured in an attack at a mosque in Malmesbury in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Police shot dead a man at the mosque‚ who charged at them with a knife when they arrived on the scene.

The suspect was said to be a stranger who had asked for refuge.

The Muslim Judicial Council said on its Facebook page just after 6am that it was "shocked to its core to learn of a brutal attack on the Malmesbury Masjied in Cape Town in the early hours of this morning".

"We can confirm that two people have been killed whilst in I’tikaaf and another regular musallee of the Masjied injured.

"We do not have any further details as yet but we urge the community not to jump to any conclusions until clarity can be given."

The president of the judicial council and his deputies were on their way to the mosque to gather more information.

"Provincial detectives are combing a crime scene for clues following the death of two people at a mosque in Malmesbury during the early hours of this morning‚" said police spokesman Lt-Col André Traut.

"Malmesbury police were called out to a local mosque and found two people stabbed to death and several injured.

"The suspect‚ believed to be in his 30s and armed with a knife, was still on the scene and charged at the police, who tried to persuade him to hand himself over.

"He ignored the calls and tried to attack police. He was shot and killed in the process. His death will be investigated by Ipid [the Independent Police Investigative Directorate]."

Reports said the Hawks investigative unit has been drafted in to lead the inquiry.

There was no initial indication that the attack was in any way linked to an attack on a mosque in Verulam‚ north of Durban‚ in May.

One man was killed and two others were critically injured in that attack‚ in which three men stormed the building shortly after afternoon prayers.

Refuge

The suspect was a stranger who had asked for refuge, witnesses said.

Imhraan Mukaddam‚ who said one of the victims of the attack was married to his cousin‚ said the knifeman arrived at the mosque on Wednesday night and asked to could join the i’tikaaf night prayers‚ which are held over the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Speaking outside the mosque‚ Mukaddam said his relative was killed in his sleep when the man cut his throat. 

Mukaddam said it was tragic that “we started Ramadan with the atrocity in Durban and we’re ending it with a tragedy in the same note”.

But he said: “I appeal to communities to work together for peace‚ and let’s not import these foreign concepts into our Islam. Islam in SA has been here for 300 years‚ and we’ve never had this kind of situation where we attack each other‚ especially in the mosque, and not on the basis of politically and religiously inspired agendas that have nothing to do with us.”

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