Feb 24 2009 1:19AM
Muslims in clash with cops
Nivashni Nair, Published:Feb 16, 2009
TENSIONS between local Muslims and the Port Shepstone municipal police have reached fever pitch — a well-known Muslim businessman was arrested and allegedly “treated like a terrorist” for double-parking outside the town’s mosque on Friday.
Local Muslims have vowed to ensure that the Hibiscus Coast Protection Services officer involved is disciplined.
Husain Motala, 30, who says he spent four hours in police cells after he was arrested for double parking, claims a white officer, whose name is known to The Times, told him that “Muslims think that we have too much money so we can do what we want, but he was going to get us”.
The t rouble began when Motala double-parked his car outside the mosque during Friday prayers as he was unable to find a space.
“When I came out , I saw that the officer had given me a ticket for double-parking. I then heard him radio other officers telling them to focus the CCTV camera on the scene because things were going to get out of hand. I identified myself and apologised for double-parking,” said Motala.
Motala was then told that the car would be impounded.
He said the officer then insulted him and called in back-up of 12 police vehicles and 35 traffic officers, and closed the road.
“Others had now begun to come out of the mosque and tried to intervene, but the officer began pushing them. I did not even touch or speak to the officer badly,” Motala said.
A tow-truck driver was arrested for “obstructing justice” after allegedly refusing to remove Motala’s car because it was not abandoned .
Motala was also charged with assaulting a police officer, defeating the ends of justice, causing an obstruction to traffic, inciting violence and resisting arrest.
Motala and the tow-truck driver were given bail of R5000 each and will appear in court today.
Motala plans to sue the officer for defamation and racism.
Community leader Ismail Asmal said local Muslims were “very angry”.
They are pledging money for Motala’s defence.
Victor Chetty, head of the Hibiscus Coast Protection Services, was unavailable for comment.
A spokeswoman for the KwaZulu-Natal police, Director Phindile Radebe, confirmed that Motala was arrested and that he had been charged.