Farid Esack, a professor of religious studies at the University of Joburg, said: “It is of grave concern that violence directed at Muslim sacred sites - regardless of its disparate motives - is becoming relatively common and even normalised. There is little that can be done to stop a deeply troubled individual acting violently anywhere, as was the case with the Malmesbury attack.
“There is indeed a theological tendency among Muslims, who regard the existence of shrines and the reverence for those buried there, as a form of heresy. However, none of those in South Africa have ever suggested - let alone encouraged - attacks on shrines or those who visit the kramats. This notwithstanding, the Muslim community must continually ask itself about the possible relationship between routine hate speech against other Muslims who have different approaches to dogma and whether we provide fodder that could be invoked for violent attacks,” Esack said.
“We must draw a line between acknowledging theological differences and defending our own positions, on the one hand, and the demonisation of real people and incitement to the destruction of life and property on the other.”
This is in light of the latest torching of the Sayed Mahmud kramat in Constantia.