Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mosque burglary ‘shameful’

Published on Monday, 22 April 2013

THE Maitland Mosque in Coronation Road has been hit by a third burglary in the space of a year.

This time around, the suspects left the mosque in a poor state after stealing the water pipes, resulting in large parts of the building being flooded.

Bienie Garnie, the administrator of the mosque and chairperson of the Maitland Concerned Residents Forum, says locals are repelled at the idea of the mosque being burgled.

“You don’t expect people to stoop that low. We understand that there is a drug problem in this area, but this unacceptable,” he says.

The incident unfolded in the early hours of Saturday 13 April, hours after the mosque hosted a prayer session which takes place every Friday and runs until between 23:00 and 00:00.

Suspects are believed to have entered the toilet window on the top floor.

They managed to rip the copper water pipes from the walls, causing the spurting water to destroy most of the prayer mats in the mosque.

“We know that it is somebody from this community, possibly someone who is addicted to drugs. They knew when the programme would end and how to get into the mosque. This is really sad, but we will try and put some precautionary measures in place,” Garnie says.

Members of the mosque were forced to hire a few industrial vacuum cleaners, purchase new mats and replace the pipes, but they are still in need of assistance.

Garnie estimates the cost of repairing everything damaged at the to be around R14 000.

On a positive note, he confirms that a donor has already come forward and agreed to replace some of the prayer mats.

“We are still going to need a bit of help, but we are working hard at repairing everything that was damaged during the burglary,” he says.

They also had new burglar bars installed on the windows around the mosque.

Locals were left shocked by the latest incident at the mosque and could not believe that a place of worship would be targeted to feed a drug habit.

Maitland resident Salaama Matthews lives close to the mosque and explains how important the place of worship is to the community.

“There is no other mosque in this vicinity and many of the factories and businesses depend on this mosque as well. This must have been one of these druggies looking for a quick fix, but to choose the mosque? That is just disgusting,” she says.

Another resident, Edward Maynard, saw members hard at work repairing the damage that was left behind by the suspect.

He initially thought the mosque undertook a mass spring clean, but was left speechless after finding out about the burglary. “This is a very close-knit community and the mosque is a venue where people can meet and pray at the same time,” he says.

“This is a really shameful act and whoever is responsible for this burglary definitely has a huge hole in their chest. They don’t have a heart.”

The Maitland Mosque is still in dire need of assistance and is calling on the community for any donations towards refurbishing their prayer facility.

Anyone interested in donating materials to the Maitland Mosque can phone Bienie Garnie on 0082 777 8895.V Maitland Mosque will be hosting a food fair fundraiser on Friday 3 May at the Maitland madrassah hall on the corner of Patton and Coronation road. The fair starts starts at 16:00.