MUSLIM leaders in Uganda yesterday condemned terrorists attacks by Somali Islamic insurgents, the Al-shabaab, saying they had departed from the true message of Prophet Muhammed and began fighting wars that are offending Allah (God).
Al-shabaabâ€™s behaviour took centre stage of sermons delivered during Idd-el-fitr prayers across the country yesterday.
In instructive speeches at different mosques, several sheikhs stressed that Islam is a religion of peace and blamed Al-shabaab for hiding behind the faith to shed â€œinnocentâ€ blood.
â€œAllah requires Muslims to be peaceful. If the Al-shabaab think they are killing people because of religion, that is a very wrong perception,â€ Kampala district Khadi Suleiman Ndirangwa of the Kibuli sect, said. â€œThey are committing suicide and massacring innocent people on their own behalf. Allah is not behind this.â€
Close to 80 people died when twin bombs hit Kyaddondo rugby grounds and the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala on July 11. Al-shabaab claimed responsibility.
On Thursday Al - Shabaab killed two Ugandan soldiers at Mogadishu International Airport, which was neutralised by the AU forces . This was a day after they issued a threat demanding that Uganda withdraws her peacekeeping troops or face more wrath.
Ugandaâ€™s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and former electoral commission chairman, Hajji Aziz Kasujja, yesterday also castigated the insurgents, saying they were damaging the image of Islam. â€œKilling one innocent person equals murdering the entire humanity. Al-shabaab donâ€™t follow Islamic teaching; they are pursuing selfish interests,â€ Kasujja told the press after a feast at Prince Kassim Nakibingeâ€™s home in Kibuli.
Hundreds of other Muslims, including Uganda ambassador to Iran Dr. Ahmed Kisuule, Kampala mayor Nasser Ssebaggala and MPs Hussein Kyanjo and Nabilah Naggayi, attended the two-hour banquet.
In a fairly tougher tone, the head of the Tabliq sect Suleiman Kakeeto called upon the Government not to forgive perpetrators of the July 11 Kampala bombings, although some confessed and asked for forgiveness.
Addressing hundreds of Muslims at the Clock Tower mosque, Kakeeto said those who took part in the bombings did so as individuals not on behalf of Islam, and thus they should not go scot-free.
He urged Muslims to desist from revenge and the youth to shun idleness, which he called the recipe for terror.
Muslims were also warned against backsliding to evil behaviour during Idd festivities, especially drinking alcohol and visiting â€˜wrongâ€™ entertainment places.
â€œYou have just ended the holy month of Ramathan but donâ€™t go and start swinging your bums with weird songs where beer and pork are being sold. These acts annoy Allah,â€ Kakeeto added.
Meanwhile, Muslim leaders also rebuked the NRM party over violence that marred its primaries. Mufti Shabban Mubajje noted that the violence pointed to a bloody situation come the general elections next year. He asked President Yoweri Museveni to punish whoever engaged in rigging. â€œIt is very shameful for a leader to be seen getting involved in bribery. He or she is setting a bad precedent, especially to the young generation. This is the reason why I call upon the chairman of the party to walk the talk, by punishing all the culprits,â€ Mubajje said.
Prince Nakibinge attacked the Government for blocking the Kabaka, Ronald Mutebi, from visiting Kayunga last year, which sparked off riots that shook Kampala and neighbouring districts.
In Mukono, Sheikhs condemned the plan of an American pastor, Terry Jones, to burn the Quran in the commemoration of the September 11 attack on USA. â€œThis revenge will cause more problems,â€ said Sowed Catawba who led prayers at Mukono mosque.
Compiled by Francis Kagolo, Patrick Jaramogi, Brian Mayanga, Justine Nakitende Andrew Ssenyonga and Henry Nsubuga
Sheikhs condemn Al-Shabaab attacks