A group of men attempted to assault prominent Zimbabwean scholar Mufti Ismail Menk, accusing him of being a mocker of the Prophet Muhammad.
The incident took place at the Overport City Shopping Centre in KwaZulu-Natal on the evening of Monday 18th August.
According to a source, Mufti Menk was at the shopping centre and as he was about to leave, a man who was reportedly a Mawlana (religious teacher) approached his car and asked his son “Is this Ismail Menk”?
The “Mawlana” waited for Mufti Menk to get out of his car and told his accomplices in Urdu: “This is the guy.”
According to the source who wishes to remain anonymous, said the group of men then approached both sides of Mufti Menk’s car. Under the impression they wanted to greet him, Mufti Menk lowered the window of the car and said “Asalaamu Alaikum.”
Mufti Menk also offered his hand to extend the greeting to the Mawlana but he became abusive, extremely vulgar and started swearing and hurling profanities saying Mufti Menk was a “gustakh e Rasool” (someone who’s disrespectful to the Prophet Muhammad) and that they would behead him like Umar (ra) use to behead those disrespectful to the Prophet.
Accomplices of the “Mawlana” then rushed forward and started hitting the car. Mufti Menk then sped away from the attackers who continued to run after the fleeing car, to no avail.
A witness told Radio Islam the men drew their guns in an attempt to stop the fleeing car.
“They took out some guns and they said they’ll put eleven bullets into that guy if they find him. These guys are not interested in the case. All they want to do is trace Mufti Menk and they want to harm and kill him.” – said the witness in a video recording, in the possession of Radio Islam.
The gang of men also allegedly coerced the witness to lie and report a false case at the Berea Police Station and say that he was a victim in a hit and run case by Mufti Menk.
“They said to me I should help them talk up a false incident that a black car knocked me and it wasn’t true. They said they’ll offer me some money – a R200 reward if I help them to lie to get a case opened against another guy.
“They took me to Berea Police Station. They said I should open an incident with a false case and they never had a number plate, so we went the first time. We came back, they left me. I was supposed to open some cases. They went back the second time with the real number plate and they opened the case themselves.”
It is alleged that a group is calling for the killing of Mufti Menk, posting videos on YouTube and in some instances using children in these videos, as they deem him a “gustakh e Rasool” due to theological differences.
Mufti Menk and his son were unharmed from the incident. The preacher posted the following comments on his official Facebook page:
“We will always have differences of opinion and understanding among ourselves, but that should never lead us to becoming violent or abusive.”
“It is sad to see that the more technologically advanced we have become, the more intolerant we are of one another.”
“Let those who hate you not make you full of hatred. Guard your heart from becoming similar to theirs.”
“When people resort to lying about you to discredit you, then you should be thankful that they could not find a single thing to pick on.”