The community of West Cape, South Africa has experienced two incidents of desecration against mosques. Authorities are saying that the incidents bear the hallmark of a “calculated use of Islamophobic methods.”
Achmat Sity, the imam of the 110-year-old Kalk Bay Mosque, urged Muslims to remain calm and called for unity.
“This mosque has been here for over 100 years and this is the first time an incident like this has happened,” he told Al Jazeera.
“There have been burglaries in the past, but this was despicable.”
The local 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”.
Pigs are an animal considered ritually unclean in Islam and believers are prohibited from consuming them.
The desecrations came less than a week after a white Western Cape resident posted a message on a community Facebook page calling for mosques to be burned down. The post has since been deleted.
Farid Sayed, the editor of Muslim Views, a national newspaper, said that while the attacks may be isolated in nature, they indicated a failure of some segments of post-apartheid South Africa to fully integrate.
“Racist attitudes are still very deeply embedded in post-apartheid South Africa, all it took was a simple Facebook post to spark this,” he said.
“People living in white-only communities believe they have to fight to keep Muslims out, they think they don’t have the state’s backing.
“This anger – from these racists and bigots – has been heightened by right-wing media outlets that continue to demonise and insult Muslims,” he added.