The horrific attack on two mosques in New Zealand has opened up scrutiny of our own safety at masjids and Islamic centres in SA, writes an Al Qalam Reporter.
In the wake of the bloody massacre of Muslim worshippers in New Zealand during Jumu’ah last week, Pietermaritzburg social activist, Moulana Abdool Rahman has advised musalees at all mosques in South Africa to better acquaint them themselves on how to handle emergency situations, such as fire, robberies, medical traumas – or attacks by Islamophobes.
Moulana Abdool Rahman, chairman and Ameer of Misbahul-Ilm (Lamp of Knowledge) told Al Qalam that the senseless murder of 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch should serve as a wakeup call that such attacks could occur even in this country, and locals must know how to counteract possible threats.
He said it was a sad reality that blatant Islamophobia was on the rise, thanks to the demonization of Musliims and Islam in the media.
Moulana Abdool Rahman said, for years, he had been pleading with mosque committees to step up security measures, but his advice has always received a lukewarm response.
So serious are his concerns, that he has compiled a detailed booklet entitled “How to respond When an Active Shooter is in Your Vicinity.”
Moulana Abdool Rahman said: “We need to have all-round skills to deal with any eventuality. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to become sitting ducks in a life-threatening situation,” he said.
He said it was important for committee members of mosques, madressas and Islamic centres to each have their own security teams and a designated medical response team. It was imperative that there was emergency equipment on the premises. “Most mosques I know don’t even have a single fire extinguisher on the premises,” he added.
The moulana also pointed that it was important for musalees to have some training in combat, including karate, to take down an armed attacker and possibly prevent the loss of life.
He said masjids, madressas and Islamic centres must have more than one exit that will allow people to escape in any emergency eventuality. “At the moment, many of our masjids are death traps”, he added.
He said his organization would be available to co-ordinate and train people on how to defend themselves in case of an armed assault, or how to respond to emergencies relating to medical, fire or criminal elements.
Moulana Abdool Rahman, who is a trained paramedic, said: “The attack on the mosques in New Zealand should serve a wake-up call for all of us to be prepared for absolutely any situation.” Most of all, he urged musalees to be ever vigilant of their surrounding at all times.
He said preparedness-training was not only important to protect mosques and musalees, but can also be useful to protect residents in their respective areas by taking proactive measures against crime – and to play a role as first responders in any given situation.
For further information, please contact Moulana Abdool Rahman of Misbahul-Ilm on 0712421450 or 0812544344 or on their email: firstname.lastname@example.org