By Waswa Tenywa
A prominent Muslim scholar from the United States Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat today met His Eminence the Mufti of Uganda Shk. Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje in his office at the UMSC Headquarters Old Kampala.
Imam Bashar is the President of the U.S based Civilisations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF). He is in Uganda to build the capacity of Muslim scholars and leaders in the areas of interfaith dialogue, peace building and development.
During the meeting, H.E the Mufti welcomed him to UMSC and expressed his full support towards his peace building work.
“Difference in faith does not mean enmity” the Mufti told Imam Bashar who was accompanied by the U.S Embassy Kampala Public Affairs Officer Mr. Ronald Hawkins, the Embassy Spokesperson Phil Dimon and the Embassy Social Media and Muslim Outreach Program Assistant Ms. Shamilla Kara.
In persuance of interfaith dialogue, H.E the Mufti played a key role in the formation of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU).
“There is now cooperation with other faiths on common issues” said the Mufti who is also IRCU Chairman and the Co-Chair of the African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL) as well as the Executive Member of the New York based Religions for Peace International.
He said UMSC is making preparations to organise an International Muslim Scholars’ Peace Camp aimed at empowering Muslim scholars to promote peace and interfaith dialogue in their areas of jurisdiction.
He called upon the U.S. Embassy to support this initiative saying that;
“We should join hands for common causes”.
In his remarks, Imam Bashar said his organisation, with support from the U.S Embassy and in collaboration with UMSC and like minded institutions is going to build the capacity of Imams in East Africa in peace building.
“We would like to see them not only talk, but act interfaith” he said.
The two later addressed the first Uganda Muslim Scholars Interfaith workshop organised by the Muslim Clerics of Uganda Development Initiative with support from the U.S Embassy Kampala.
In his remarks to the participants, the Mufti thanked Ugandan Muslims for not fighting or killing each other despite the misunderstandings.
“In other parts of the world, Muslims are killing each other simply because they disagree of petty issues” the Mufti said
The Principal of MUBS, Prof. Waswa Balunywa and the lecturer Makerere University Department of Religion and Peace Studies Haji Abdul Fatah Katende also addressed the participants.
The 2nd Deputy Mufti Shk. Muhammad Ali Waiswa and prominent educationist Mr. Isa Matovu were the lead organisers of the workshop.