Police find witnesses in Islamaphobic murder

Police have identified witnesses in the murder of a Muslim man in Magaliesburg.

Mohammed Fayaz Kazi

JOHANNESBURG - Police on Thursday identified witnesses in the allegedly Islamophobic murder of a Muslim man in Magaliesburg.

They said they were still investigating whether the attack was based on the ethnicity and religion of the man.

Mohammed Fayaz Kazi was severely assaulted on Monday, allegedly over the length of his beard.

He died the next day after the attack.

Former Intelligence Minister, Ronnie Kasrils, is outraged by the attack, labelling it as "savage" and saying it "carries the stench of Islamophobia".

Kasrils condemned the men responsible and called for South Africans to unite to stop religious and racial intolerance.

North West Premier Thandi Modise also spoke up about the incident damned the incident.

"She calls on police not to leave any stone unturned and those that caused the death to be put behind bars," said her spokesperson Lesiba Kgwela.

27-year-old Kazi was involved in a brawl at a fast food outlet in Magaliesburg where he was badly beaten.

He died on Tuesday after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Kazi's father-in-law Hashimbhai Motara has called for the people that attacked his son-in-law to be put behind bars.

"I am of the opinion that the perpetrators must be caught and they must receive the correct punishment for what they have done.

"They must be tried."

The incident has sparked outrage in the Muslim community.

Kazi and his friend Anser Mahmood overheard two people mocking them.

It is alleged the men were making comments about Kazi's beard.

According to the interview with Mahmood in the Mail & Guardian, "Two white people … they called him [Osama] bin Laden in Afrikaans because of his beard … and then they called us the k-word," Mahmood said on Wednesday. "[Fayaaz] understood Afrikaans and was arguing with them."

Kazi was beaten over the head with an unidentified weapon.

Kazi died at a medical facility in Potchefstroom from brain damage.

His funeral was held on Tuesday.

North West police opened a case of murder.