The bail application of a gang that allegedly wreaked terror in Durban in the name of ISIS, was described as “deplorable and deeply disturbing”, writes an Al Qalam Reporter.
“Conscientious Muslims and responsible South African citizens cannot remain silent in the face of extremist views and atrocities committed in the name of Islam,” said prominent Islamic scholar Imam (Dr) Rashied Omar.
Imam Omar was commenting on chilling evidence given in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on the bail application of 11 accused who are facing charges that links them to a reign of terror in the Durban area, including the violent attack on the Avoca Shia mosque that resulted in the murder of worshipper Abbas Essop. The men are accused of having links to the ISIS terror group.
The suspects face allegations that they were co-conspirators in the attack of the Imam Hussein Mosque in Ottawa in May this year including a spate of bomb scares at departmental stores, including Woolworths. CCTV footage also allegedly links them to areas where incendiary devices were placed at Woolworths stores across Durban.
The court heard that the State will present video footage of some of the men implicated in the mosque attack – as they left the mosque after the terror attack.
The case against the 11 accused is “strong”, the investigation team told the court.
The 11 men face various charges‚ including murder‚ attempted murder‚ arson‚ extortion and the violation of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
The accused are: Farhad Hoomer‚ Ahmed Haffejee‚ Thabit Mwenda‚ Mohamad Akbar‚ Seiph Mohamed‚ Amani Mayani‚ Abubakar Ali‚ Abbas Jooma‚ Mahammed Sobruin‚ Ndikumana Shabani and Iddy Omani. Some of the accused are Tanzanian nationals.
A 12th accused, Goolam Haffejee, who is alleged to be associated with the accused, was released on R100‚000 bail.
In their bail applications, Magistrate Irfaan Khalil heard from investigating officer, Kwezi Chonco, how the accused were alleged to have been involved in the extortion of money. The court also heard how a home in Reservoir Hills was turned into a training facility where the accused were given instructions on how to make explosives and carry out assassinations. They had allegedly relied on ISIS manuals to carry out their chilling plots. Incriminating items such as eight ISIS flags were also found at the home.
The court heard that the accused were allegedly involved in exhorting around R1.4-million from several businesses within the Durban area, in accordance with an ISIS newsletter that promoted the idea that non-Muslims should be exhorted for money.
The bail application is proceeding.
Meanwhile, Imam Rashied told Al Qalam that the preliminary evidence produced by the Hawks in the bail application of the suspects of the Verulam masjid killing and the Durban incendiary devices – if proven to be true – was “deplorable and deeply disturbing”.
“How does one reconcile a so-called ‘jihad for the establishment of an Islamic State’ with blatant extortion, kidnapping, torture and killing? Beyond the court proceedings, the Muslim community, especially in Durban, should be wary of the character and ideological orientation of the ring leaders of the suspects.
“All of us, in collaboration with our Ulama, have an awesome responsibility to take preventative action to combat the formenting of extremist and sectarian ideological orientations within our communities. Conscientious Muslims and responsible South African citizens cannot remain silent in the face of such extremist views and atrocities committed in the name of Islam.
“We commend the South African Police Services and the Hawks for the patient, meticulous, and responsible manner in which they have conducted their investigations. We have confidence in the South African Judicial system to expose the perpetrators and bring justice to the victims of the heinous killings at the Verulam mosque.”