Two Cape Town mosques defaced in 'Islamophobic' attacks
Johannesburg (AFP) - Two mosques in Cape Town have been defaced in "Islamophobic" attacks with blood sprayed on walls and a pig's snout left on an entrance gate, South African officials said Tuesday.
The Western Cape provincial government condemned the two "despicable" attacks on mosques in Kalk Bay and Simonstown since Saturday.
"Both incidents made calculated use of Islamophobic methods, including blood and -- in the Simonstown case -- a pig's head," it said in a statement.
"The similarity of the cases, and proximity of the mosques, raises concerns that the two incidents may be linked."
South Africa has a history of relative religious tolerance, and Western Cape premier Helen Zille said that "acts of religious or racial prejudice have no place in our province and nation."
Achmat Sity, imam of Masjidul Jamiah in Kalk Bay, told AFP that the caretaker at the mosque -- which is more than 110 years old -- had discovered the vandalism early on Monday morning.
"He opened the mosque for first prayers and found the walls sprayed with blood and also the pulpit. It was like from a syringe," he said, adding inscription plaques had been ripped from the walls and were lying on the floor.
"It was very disturbing," he said, adding that nothing was stolen.
A bloody pig's snout was left on the gate of the Simonstown mosque on Saturday.
The provincial branch of the ruling ANC party condemned the attacks as "disgusting" and called on South Africans "to stand united in protecting the culture of coexistence."
About 1.5 percent of South Africa's population is Muslim.