The robbery and shootout that ensued outside the Hamidia Musjid mosque in Newtown, Johannesburg is not act of violent extremism as is being speculated on social media. Any claim linking this ordinary and unfortunate crime to violent extremism is rubbished.
- N Saleka, News24, 15/06/19, refers.
There is a rampant increase in crimes taking place in, around and near places of worship in South Africa. Religious institutions have commenced engaging the services of private security personnel to guard worshippers as they are engaged in prayer inside the institution.
Having to utilise the services of security guarding is placing a severe strain on the already thin and diminishing cash and resources of faith-based institutions. The South African Police Service must play their part.
We call on the government of South Africa and all community policing forums within the country to engage the capacity of the SAPS to increase their policing around religious places, more so when there are faith-based festivals.
Religious institutions must also strengthen their relationship with the SAPS and CPFs which would make it easier for them to communicate - amongst others - their timetable of requiring more of a police presence due to a religious occasion set to draw in crowds of worshippers.
A safe place of worship will render violent extremism speculation null and void.
- Vedhan Singh represents South Africa at the Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism at the African Union.
He writes in his personal capacity