1 October 2018

Mozambique: Closed Mosque Re-Opens in Pemba

Maputo — The Mozambican government on Saturday authorised the reopening of the Muhamad mosque in Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, which was closed about a year ago because of its connections with the terrorist group that has launched armed attacks in parts of the province.

Islamic fundamentalists, known locally as "Al Shabaab" (although they do not seem connected to the Somali terrorist group of that name), launched attacks against police installations in the district of Mocimboa da Praia, on 5 October 2017, starting a low-level insurrection which has spread into the neighbouring districts of Palma, Macomia and Nangade.

The authorities destroyed two mosques built of flimsy materials and used by the jihadists in Mocimboa da Praia, and ordered the closure of several others elsewhere in the province. Most of these have now reopened, under new management.

According to the independent television station STV, the provincial governor, Julio Parruque announced the reopening of the Muhamad mosque, under a management appointed by the Islamic Community of Cabo Delgado.

Parruque said the temporary closure of the mosque had been a necessary measure. "We are convinced that believers are aware that places of worship should not be used for malicious purposes".

He stressed that Islam is a religion of peace, and so should not be linked with evil. He urged the moslems of Cabo Delgado to step up their vigilance against criminal activities.

Local islamic leader Sheikh Nze Assuade said he understood why the government had felt obliged to close the mosque, and distanced the islamic organisations of Cabo Delgado from the terrorist group.

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