Johannesburg South Africa – Haven for Terrorists?

By Faye Higbee

Mayfair and Fordsburg are districts of the South African city of Johannesburg that make non-Muslims highly unwelcome. They have become a literal pipeline of jihadists for movement to ISIS in Syria.

The Mayfair Jumma Masjid Mosque, one of several mosques in Johannesburg. Photo via South Africa Geoview photographer a.erboz

The jihadi zone

According to Fox News,

Non-Muslims are not welcome in the downtown area known for spawning terrorists. A Fox News crew that recently tried to film near a Mayfair mosque was threatened and chased from the area. The ominous encounter raised for the first time the specter of “no-go zones,” or areas where Muslim extremists have sole control of the streets. 

Sources told Fox News ISIS, working through the Internet and through radical clerics on the ground, is using sophisticated psychological methods to brainwash and recruit young South Africans. The radicalizing messages include instructions on how to get from Africa to Syria and Iraq without detection.

Those who respond to ISIS’ call leave through Johannesburg’s main international airport, where just weeks ago, five men were nabbed with $6 million and believed headed for the Islamic State. Earlier this year, a 15-year-old girl was pulled from a plane minutes before takeoff after her family told police she had taken a large amount of money and disappeared. She was on a flight to Turkey, to slip into Syria to become an ISIS bride of war.


Mayfair’s Somali Mosque (2012 Ramadan photo via Africawitness)

Losing people to ISIS – radicalization?

Samantha Lewthwaite, the British “White Widow” terrorist is from that area as well.

“We could say with certainty that 50 to 60 persons, South African citizens, have joined ISIS in Syria, [but] there are some reports suggesting that more than a hundred have done so, and as many as 300 or more.” Hashim Al- Alawi, Iraqi Ambassador to South Africa

On September 8, the US Diplomatic Mission to South Africa warned US citizens that extremists may be targeting American government facilities and U.S. business interests in South Africa. Though the Embassy is in Pretoria,  the American consulate is in Johannesburg. The threat was not specific enough to identify the possible target.

The small districts in Johannesburg appear to be a hotbed of jihadist activity and the brainwashing of young people.  Returning jihadists from the Middle East have been a concern in South Africa for some time.

“Review your personal security plans; remain aware and vigilant of your surroundings, including local events, monitor local news stations for updates and follow instructions from local authorities.Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.” U.S. Government warning

And that is good advice wherever you happen to find yourself these days.