Shiraaz Mohamed
Durban - Another Mother’s Day and Ramadaan that a Johannesburg mother will not be spending with her son who has reportedly been held captive in Syria for almost three years. Photo-journalist Shiraaz Mohamed was captured in 2017 in Syria after travelling there to take pictures to narrate the plight of the Syrian people. Mohamed’s mother, Shireen, said the pain has been unbearable and would never wish it upon anyone.

“No mother should have to go through this, let alone during Ramadaan or Mother’s Day. We all pray that he returns home safely,” said Shireen.

Shirley Brijlal, Mohamed’s ex-wife, said that Ramadaan has given the family something to focus on and giving them hope.

“There’s solace in knowing that the Almighty is with you at all times and knowing that you are not alone is a powerful thing.

“Our prayers are more powerful this month and we pray for his release,” she said.

The latest proof of life came in the form of a video on April 13, depicting Mohamed being held in captivity and pleading for assistance from the South African government as the Russians were bombing Syria and encroaching closer to where he was being held hostage.

Mohammed Ismail, a close family friend and former colleague of Mohamed, said that the family prayed for Mohamed’s release.

“I am hopeful that the recent proof of life video released has given his family some hope of his well-being. Yet, that is not enough,” he said.

Both Ismail and Brijlal have asked that people respect the family’s request to privacy on the matter.

The family of Shiraaz Mohamed picketed at the Hitekani Primary School in Chiawelo, Soweto, ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s arrival on Wednesday.

Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, said Mohamed had a passion to document the hardships of communities in distress.

Sunday Tribune