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Muslims will never accept DRB as law

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th May 2006 03:00 AM

As Parliamentary Imam and a practicing Muslim, I find the Domestic Relations Bill (DRB)not a good law and I strongly oppose it because it contradicts important issues which are related to Islamic teachings and our cultural norms.

As Parliamentary Imam and a practicing Muslim, I find the Domestic Relations Bill (DRB)not a good law and I strongly oppose it because it contradicts important issues which are related to Islamic teachings and our cultural norms.

By Latif Ssebaggala

As Parliamentary Imam and a practicing Muslim, I find the Domestic Relations Bill (DRB)not a good law and I strongly oppose it because it contradicts important issues which are related to Islamic teachings and our cultural norms.
When you talk about the DRB, definitely what rings in people’s minds are the four important items: divorce, inheritance, marriage and separation. To me, these items are fully catered for in the Koran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). To Muslims, marriage is an act of worship. We have clear rules and regulations governing marriage and inheritance based on Islamic principles. Many Muslim men have died without leaving a will and nobody has ever complained that the system of inheritance is unfair. If we take the DRB the way its, it would another way of saying we are rewriting the Koran, which can never be accepted by any Muslim.
Secondly, the makers of the 1995 Constitution deemed it fit to provide for the creation of Qadhis’ Courts to cater for the Muslim community, especially on matters of marriage, divorce, separation and inheritance. It is not the responsibility of the government to operationalise Article 129(1)(d) that deals with Qhadhis’ Courts. Since 1995 the Muslim community has been eagerly waiting for government’s action on the Article so that those matters can be handled to the satisfaction of Muslims.
I am reliably informed that the government of Saudi Arabia had promised to fund the operations of Qadhis’ Courts for 15 years.
I don’t believe that there is any amendment on the DRB that can satisfy us. We should just throw away the DRB and operationalise Article 129 of the Constitution. Those championing the DRB, the so-called 43 Coalition Group should be reminded that what they are fighting for is not in the best interests of women but rather their own interests.
They claim the Bill is to reform and consolidate the law relating to marriage, separation and divorce. Such a consolidated law is uncalled for because every religion has its own way of doing things. There is no way we can have one law to cater for our divergent religious beliefs. For example, the Christians strongly believe that a man should marry one woman. They believe in marriage that lasts until death, which is contrary to what the Muslims believe. So, you can’t force the Christians to believe the way Muslims do or vice-versa.
Those agitating for this Bill should carry out thorough consultations with all religious leaders, including the traditionalists. After this they will realise the Bill is unacceptable especially to the Muslim community and amending it does not make it acceptable.
However, given the fact that Seventh Parliament is winding up, and under our Rules of Procedures, Parliament does not save any Bill to be debated by another Parliament, the DRB has to start afresh and be brought to the Eight Parliament as a new Bill. I hope this will give the government more time for consultations so that it (government) comes out with a firm position on whether it’s worth tabling or should be withdrawn.
It was a weakness that consultations were made without the input of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC). If UMSC had been involved, the controversies would not have have risen. As the parliamentary Muslim caucus, we are committed to opposing the DRB to protect the sanctity of the Koran. The Koran gives perfect rules on marriage, divorce, separation and inheritance. Changing the rules would mean a violation of our freedom of worship. Muslims are law-abiding but when it comes violation of their freedom of worship, they don’t compromise. The government should save us the confrontation.

The writer is the MP for Kawempe North, Kampala

As told to Mary Karugaba

Muslims will never accept DRB as law

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