Police officers at the Imam Hussain Mosque in Verulam. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo / African News Agency / ANA
Durban - The Jamiatul Ulama KwaZulu-Natal Council of Muslim Theologians said there were differences that existed between the Shi'a and Sunni Muslim communities, but these were purely academic and not violent in nature.

The statement was made at a press briefing held at their offices on Wednesday regarding the attack on the Shi'a sect Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa, Verulam, last Thursday, which left one person dead and two others injured.

“We met with Imam Hussain Mosque leadership on Saturday and came to an understanding that yes, we have differences but we can solve this through dialogue, not violence,” said secretary of the organisation , Moulana Rafiek Mohamed.

Mohamed said the organisation condemned the attacks in the strongest terms and that it went against the teachings of the Holy Quran. Last Thursday three men attacked the mosque.

Three people were injured before the attackers set parts of the mosque alight and fled. One of the men died after he had his throat slit by the attackers.

On Sunday evening, a suspicious device confirmed to be an explosive was found at the mosque, just three days after the initial attack. The motive for the attack is still unknown and is being investigated by police.

At the briefing Jamiat KZN Administrator Moulana Abdullah Khan, said the Muslim community were at the doorstep of the holy month of Ramadaan, which begins this evening.

“We urge the community to be more vigilant and cautious with regards to their safety during this time as ladies are left alone at home when men go to mosque ,” said Khan.