A massive blaze has engulfed a 139-year-old mosque in the South African city of Durban.
The cause of the fire on Monday at the Grey Street Mosque, one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, was not immediately known.
But Faisal Suliman, chairman of the South African Muslim Network, said it was believed to have started in one of seven staff flats located above the mosque and may have been caused by an electrical fault.
“It’s presumed to have been accidental, and not to have been any foul play,” Suliman told AFP news agency.
There were no reports of casualties.
Durban – FIRE at a Mosque on Grey Street in the CBD area pic.twitter.com/iilkePxgex
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Videos posted on Twitter showed crowds gathered as curtains of flames raged through the top floor of the two-storey building in the central business district of the southeastern port city.
Several people took to social media to express sadness about the fire at the historic structure, which can accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers.
Firefighters managed to bring the fire under control in about two hours.
Emergency services spokesman Robert Mckenzie told AFP the blaze also damaged three adjacent buildings.
The mosque is a landmark of central Durban and a well-attended house of worship.
As well as hosting Friday prayers, it has been visited by prominent figures including anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, British singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, and boxing superstar Muhammad Ali.
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Fire: Grey Street Mosque Durban. pic.twitter.com/R8htZoEyZ0
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Al Jazeera and news agencies
News Source : Al Jazeera English