Uganda’s Muslim clergy are terrified of the security forces.
The Muslim community in Uganda is still reeling from the aftermath of last month’s twin suicide blasts in the capital.
The time after the assaults has been marked by cruel arrests, abductions, and executions of terror suspects, the majority of whom are Muslims.
The arrests sparked outrage in the Muslim community.
Salim Bbosa, a Muslim cleric, informed his audience at Masjid Jamia that he had ceased offering darusu lessons inside the mosque in order to avoid being accused of brainwashing young Muslims. Muslim clerics and imams educate Muslims on the tenets of Islam and how to develop their religion in the courses.
“With too much agony, I have permanently discontinued all of the darusu lessons that I have been holding in all of the mosques and on other media platforms until such time as God may keep us alive,” he stated in a video message. “I call to all Muslims to be patient and calm in the face of the country’s current circumstances, and to shun illegal activities and criminals.”
Bbosa’s lessons are well-attended and mostly concerned with social topics. He is one of the few leaders who has spoken openly about his anxieties. Other priests have done the same discreetly in recent weeks, fearing that they would be misconstrued as brainwashing sessions.
The imam of Masjid Musa, Muhammad Swidiq, informed Anadolu Agency that his mosque has canceled darusu indefinitely due to terror. Several mosques in and around Kampala have reportedly ceased holding regular sermons for identical reasons.
According to Uganda Muslim Supreme Council Secretary-General Ramadhan Mugalu, whether a Muslim or any individual is accused of a crime, that person should be treated to due process of the law.
He said that situations of cleric disappearances should be reported to the office of dawa, or Islamic propagation and preaching.
The Muslim Center for Justice (MCJL) and the Network for Public Interest Lawyers petitioned the Uganda Human Rights Commission to launch an inquiry, hear and make orders, and release a report on suspected extrajudicial executions of Ugandans by security agents.
According to MCJL President Umar Nyanzi, the organization wants the Commission to look into the issue of Islamic terrorism.
He said that Islam is a religion of peace and asked that security forces cease associating Muslims with terrorists.
Anadolu Agency questioned a motorbike taxi driver why he abruptly quit wearing his skullcap, which had become his identity. He and others, he added, are afraid of being caught by security and having their skullcaps or anything else that reveals their religious identity drooped.
Muhimbise George, a member of the Alliance for National Transformation party, said that it is regrettable that Uganda has succumbed to the strategy of stereotyping Muslims as criminals, and that the Islamic religion is associated with crime.
“For the record, there have been numerous rebel outfits or organizations headed by Christians who have never been associated with Christianity.” “Alice Lakwena, a Christian armed rebel who led a violent Holy Spirit Movement and marched her armed troops to Uganda’s capital Kampala, was never labeled a Christian terrorist,” he claimed.
“Joseph Kony and his cult-like Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the International Criminal Court’s most sought persons, took up weapons against the Ugandan government.” He claimed to be God’s representative, a spirit medium tasked by God with establishing a theocratic state based on the Biblical ten commandments. His actions shocked the world; he is accused of being responsible for the murders of thousands of people in northern Uganda to this day, and he is never referred to as a Christian terrorist,” he stated.
Joseph Kibwetere, a leader of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, a dissident organization from the Roman Catholic Church, was highlighted by George.
Kibwetere masterminded one of the most heinous mass killings in contemporary history, killing almost 500 people in Kanungu.
However, Kanungu is not referred to as a Christian terrorist, according to George.
The murders are thought to be the second-largest cult murder after one in Guyana in 1978, when Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones ordered his followers to commit “revolutionary suicide” by drinking poisoned punch. More than 900 individuals were killed, with roughly one-third of them being children.
“A concerted attempt is being made to blackmail Muslims as terrorists, and regrettably, our leaders are either intentionally or subconsciously falling for it.” The problem is that people who are ostracized and tormented may feel insecure and hence seek self-defense. As a result of the injustice, they may eventually develop into true terrorists, and we may wind up creating terrorists in the name of combatting terrorism. “We must erase the stigma attached to Muslims,” he continued.
According to Imam Iddi Kasozi, a cleric and professor at the Islamic University of Uganda (IUIU), the government should cease mistaking anybody with an Arab or Muslim name for a true Muslim.
He made a reference to the country’s president’s brother, Gen. Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, who proudly bears the Muslim name but has never joined Islam.
During the guerrilla battle that brought the present administration to power in 1986, Salim and others disguised themselves as Muslims
The government reacts
In the continuing battle against terrorism, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said that security is not intentionally targeting Muslims.
On national television, Museveni addressed the population on the security situation, saying that all those detained or slain lately were legitimate targets for being part in actions aimed at undermining the country.
The president’s statement was in response to social media critics who said that security personnel were now returning to their well-rehearsed script of detaining Muslims whenever there was a terror event.
Muslims are a minority in Uganda, accounting up 13.7 percent of the population, according to the Uganda Population and Housing Census 2015. According to some reports, the figure might be as high as 30%.