Screenhot from the video that has been circulating on social media. Video: Yusuf Abramjee

Durban - A video purportedly showing two men stealing shoes at a mosque in Westville has gone viral on social media. 

The 32-second video purportedly shows a man place a pair of white takkies in his bag while pretending to put on his own shoes. 

Speaking to Daily News, Moulana Zaakir Jadwat, said the incident took place at the Westville Juma Masjid on Wednesday before the 1 pm prayer. 

Jadwat said it was clear that the alleged thief and his accomplice were dressed in traditional kurta's but were pretending to be Muslims. 

He said it was the first time in 3 years that an incident of this nature has taken place. 

The video that has been circulating on social media. Video: Yusuf Abramjee

He said they had decided to share the video on social media to alert people and possibly identify the culprits. 

But according to AV Mohamed, chairman of the Grey Street Mosque, shoe snatching is not something new. 

Mohamed said there were three reasons for shoe snatching at mosques. 

"Firstly there is a criminal element where people come with a premeditated idea that they are going to steal.  It happens in mosques all over the world.

"The second reason is that some people don't really know where they keep their shoes. For example, Grey Street Mosque in Durban has 3 entrances and exits. Some people enter one way and then decide to exit another way. And then they cannot find their shoes. 

"The third reason is that so many people are wearing the same shoes nowadays, that they accidentally take someone else's shoe."

Mohamed said he currently had about 50 unclaimed pairs of men's shoes. 

"Ever since we installed cameras at the Grey Street Mosque two years ago, we have had about one incident to date."

He said the trick was to hide one leg of the shoe in one place, and the other somewhere else. 

"Criminals ideally want the pair."

A disgruntled wife whose husband's new pair of Puma takkies got stolen at North Beach Mosque said they had no choice but to buy another pair of shoes.