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By Vision Reporter

Added 26th December 2000 03:00 AM

AN INTERESTINGLY multi-religious season concludes today when Muslims celebrate Idd el Fitr.

AN INTERESTINGLY multi-religious season concludes today when Muslims celebrate Idd el Fitr. It is the end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan when adherents are expected to renew themselves spiritually, turning from their previous bad ways and becoming more pious. Is there, then, a better time than now for Ugandan Muslims to mend what has been a severely fractured faith? A new Mufti, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, was elected two weeks ago. Islam in Uganda has been torn through factional fighting, and no single individual has been accepted as the leader of the faith for close to 20 years. The divisions have not been doctrinal; rather they have carried quite a lot of pettiness about them. The leadership has been torn on how to administer aid funds. There have been two camps, with neither recognising the leader of the other. Whenever there were elections, each side fielded individuals, with the result that the impasse continued. Fortunately, Mubajje emerged from outside of these camps. This is a great strength, and the fact that he has a deep theological background, coupled with a good secular education gives him the respectability that is crucial for successful leadership. Mubajje's message is one of unity in diversity. He argues that there are no fundamental differences among adherents of the faith in Uganda. Any differences may be just in form - like those Muslims who prefer to wear beards, or others who may not want to attend last funeral rights (lumbe) - otherwise their belief in the cardinal principles of the faith remains the same as the rest of the body. It is important that this message be preached rigorously and understood by all. All Muslims should support Mubajje. Ends

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