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NSS says it warned MCC about erection of mosque

by Lesotho Times
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Staff Reporters

THE National Security Service (NSS) says it warned the Maseru City Council (MCC) against the construction of a mosque in Maseru West, citing that it posed a security threat to national key points including the Royal Palace and the State House due to its height.

The mosque in Maseru West, which has been under construction for the past two years, is almost complete.

According to NSS sources, the mosque was so high that when atop it, one can easily see the roofs of both the Royal Palace and the State House.

Minister of Local Government, Chieftainship, Police and Home Affairs, Lebona Lephema, last week during a closed meeting with principal chiefs questioned how the government allowed the mosque to be built at a height that threatened national key points such as the State House.

He also raised concerns over the proliferation of foreign nationals in Lesotho.

Contacted by the Sunday Express yesterday to establish how the mosque was erected within the vicinity of national key points and if at all Minister Lephema’s warning was anything to go by, the NSS spokesperson, Limpho Gugushe, said they tried to warn the MCC about the dangers of its construction but their advice fell on deaf ears.

Ms Gugushe said they had discussed the construction of the mosque with the MCC but the local authority did not heed its advice.

“MCC wrote to us seeking advice with regard to the matter and we told them that the project posed a security threat because it is within the vicinity of the State House and the Royal Palace, both of which are places that are tightly secured and need not be compromised in any way,” she said.

“We told them that given the height of the building, security at the State House and the Royal Palace would be highly compromised. But the construction went ahead anyway and there was nothing much we could do as ours was just to give advice.”

Meanwhile, an impeccable NSS source who sought anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue, told the Sunday Express that they respected Muslims and their Islamic religion but the presence of the mosque in Maseru West was worrying.

This because Muslims used technologically advanced spy devices which could put the security of Lesotho’s key points under threat of attacks.

“I don’t mean to discriminate against their religion, but we all know how radical and forceful Muslims are. They have access to technologically advanced devices with the ability to penetrate and threaten our own security. The height of that mosque gives them advantage as from its top, they can see the whole State House and Royal Palace,” the source said.

“As a result, we are very concerned. We wish the MCC had heeded the advice we gave them that the mosque should not be built there.”

He said the saddest part about the wealthy Muslim community of Arab descent in Lesotho was that due to the country’s poverty levels, they targeted poor families by giving them money and food to convert them to Islam.

“That on its own is a security threat for Lesotho. Wealthy Muslims target poor families and radicalise them. That on its own is a fertile ground for human trafficking. Sometimes right here in Maseru or at the border gate, you will see women who are seemingly not Basotho in their Muslim garb, entering or leaving Lesotho,” the source said.

“There is a lot happening that we have been observing but there is not much we can do except to provide intelligence and leave the relevant authorities to act on it. In short, we have been penetrated by Muslims and now Lesotho is gradually becoming a breeding ground for radicalism,” he added,

In response, MCC spokesperson, ‘Makatleho Mosala, confirmed that there was correspondence between them and the NSS over the construction of the mosque.

Mrs Mosala was however quick to add she would have to page through old records to enable her to furnish this publication with accurate information.

“Yes, there was correspondence between MCC and NSS and presently we are working on the matter at hand. But I will only be able to divulge more information after I revisit the files,” she said,

Mr Lephema last week angered the Muslim community when he told the meeting with principal chiefs in Maseru that the Muslim community was threatening the national security and taking over land and the livelihoods of Basotho. They would take over the country in no time, he cautioned.

“The Ministry of Local Government, Home Affairs and Police is aware that very soon, Lesotho won’t have arable land. As it is, I am fighting about a building that’s being erected near the State House by someone whose origin we don’t even know. He is building a tall structure which is going to tower over the State House, what do you call that?” he quipped.

“And I am told it is a mosque and what if this person has equipment that will help him peep into the State House. This is the sad situation we put our people in when we are in power. We ruin all things for our kids. He has been given that land by Basotho (in their own land) so that tomorrow Basotho children will serve as slaves for foreigners in their own land. It is time to change this. Let’s stop them and remind them that this is a Christian country,” Mr Lephema said.

“We are not even suggesting that they (Muslims) should stop praying, but they should not be all over the place. The other saddest part is human trafficking which is rife due to lack of employment among our youth. Basotho youth are easily lured and sent to these countries where they are turned into sex slaves.

“These days such churches traffic unsuspecting people to their respective countries where they train and recruit them into terrorism. Our children are in trouble, and they are taken from their villages, under your watch…. It is on this basis that we should all hold hands and restore this country’s integrity and there couldn’t be any opportune time than now,” he further warned.

Mr Lephema said Basotho should put their political differences and fight such things and “make Lesotho great again”.

The social media has since been abuzz with angry and disappointed reactions from the Muslim community and some Basotho who think that the minister has acted irrationally and fuelled xenophobia.

That culminated in the calling of a press briefing by the Muslim community yesterday, where spokesperson, Pule Jafar Imam, distanced Muslims from the mosque.

“The building in Maseru West is neither a mosque nor a church but a private property belonging to an individual,” Mr Imam said.



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