Durban mom killed for supporting Palestine



Published Jun 9, 2024


A MAN allegedly attacked a Glenmore family, stabbing their mother to death, threatening to rape her teenage daughter and seriously wounding two others, because they “supported Palestine”.

Grayson James Beare, 44, of Durban North, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court, yesterday, for the murder of Halima Firoza Hoosen-Preston, 49, the attempted murder of her husband, Sean Preston, and their 18-year-old son, Adam.

The father and son were stabbed multiple times, and are recovering in hospital.

Their 13-year- old daughter, Sofia, was not harmed.

Scores of supporters of Palestinian gathered at the court to stand in solidarity with the family and demanded that Beare not be granted bail.

State prosecutor, Calvin Govender, told the court that Beare was accused of unlawfully and intentionally stabbing Hoosen-Preston multiple times at her Hyder Road home on June 2.

He said the State would argue premeditated murder.

Govender said the accused was also accused of assaulting Sean and Adam by stabbing them multiple times.

The State asked for a seven day adjournment for Beare to undergo a mental assessment by the district surgeon and for bail profiling.

Due to it being a schedule 6 offence, bail would be opposed, Govender said.

Magistrate Ashwin Singh questioned Beare about what appeared to be injuries on his face. He responded that he had been assaulted by an undercover cop.

The matter was adjourned to next week.

Colonel Robert Netshiunda, a provincial police spokesperson, said officers at the scene found a man at the scene in possession of a blood-stained knife.

He said a survivor has told police that the suspect had said, while stabbing them, that it was because they supported Palestine.

Halima Firoza Hoosen-Preston, her husband, Sean Preston, and their two children, Adam and Sofia, came under attack in their Glenmore home.

He added the man had also allegedly threatened to rape the daughter.

In a video, which emerged after the attack on social media, the accused explained why he had attacked the family.

He said: “She and her family thought it was entertaining that my family were killed in Israel”.

A person in the video, believed to be a policeman, told the accused that he had killed an innocent person.

He responded by saying: “She is not totally innocent. She hates my family. She and her family thought it was entertaining that my family were killed in Israel. She thought that was funny.”

Grayson James Beare appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.

When asked if he was a Jew, he said, “not by identity, but I have family that are. I have rejected the religion completely.”

When asked if he was a Zionist, he replied “not anymore, once upon time”.

News of the attack sparked outrage among community organisations and leaders.

Dr Faisal Suliman, chairperson of the South African Muslim Network(SAMNET) said they condemned with contempt and disgust the attack on the family.

“This heinous and cowardly attack was ostensibly perpetrated by a known Zionist acting against a family with pro-Palestinian views.”

Suliman said the silence of the Zionist supporters in South Africa was shocking.

“The supporters of Israel must be asked, ‘Do you support this barbaric attack?’. In the absence of an outright condemnation by supporters of Israel in South Africa, the logical conclusion will be that they support this crime,” he said.

“We demand the State treat this also as a hate crime. We call for a dedicated SAPS unit to investigate and prosecute incidences of Islamophobia with the seriousness it deserves. The Human Rights Commission and Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Rights Commission need to take this up too,” he said.

Mohamed Saeed, coordinator of the KZN Palestine Solidarity Forum, said: “The horrific murder, irrespective of the motive, must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The perpetrator has undermined, not only the right to life, but also the Constitutional rights of the victim and her family.

Maulana Mohamed Tariq, president of the People's Freedom Party (PFP) and community leader, said they were deeply concerned about the growing trend of Islamophobia in South Africa.

“Acts of violence based on religious hatred have no place in our society. We call upon all communities to stand together against such intolerance and violence. We stand firmly against racism, white supremacism, religious supremacism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.”

Professor Karen Milner, national chairperson of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), said they condemned in the strongest terms the killing of Hoosen-Preston and the attack on her family members.

“We trust that justice will take its course.”

Milner said Beare’s actions or views do not represent the Jewish community who have expressed sympathy to the families for their loss and pray for a speedy recovery for those injured.

“Our thoughts are with them at this heartbreaking time. However, we reject with disdain, the attempts by anti-Israel lobby groups and political parties to turn this tragic situation into a vilification campaign of the broader Jewish community.

“It is totally reckless and inappropriate to hold all the members of a religion responsible for such a reprehensible act. We call on all leaders not to inflame further an already volatile situation,” she said.

Milner said they would also pursue investigations of hate speech, following comments made by a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF) ahead of Beare’s appearance.

“In the video, which was taken outside of the court, EFF KZN provincial chairperson Commissar Mongezi Twala, who was addressing the crowd who amassed there, said, ‘starting from today that we cut the ugly throats of the Jewish’ (sic) and we must ‘cut the head of the snake’, to which members of the crowd said ‘thank you’.

“This call for violence against the Jewish community is unacceptable, and the SAJBD will be investigating a case of hate speech against him. His comments come in the wake of a statement issued by Africa for Palestine (as just one example of the anti-Israel lobby denigrating the South African Jewish community) who call Jews in this country ‘violent’ and ‘aggressive’. As can be seen by the scenes outside of the court, this is an inversion of the truth, inflammatory and dangerous.

“It is reckless, bigoted and inappropriate to hold all the members of a religion responsible for a reprehensible act of an unstable individual,” she said.


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