Warring Muslim Factions Told To Embrace Dialogue

3214 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
Some members of the Muslim community in Hoima are calling for dialogue as the conflict between Bwikya and Hoima town Mosques deepens. On Tuesday, the chairman Bwikya Mosque Executive Iddi Magezi sued the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje and a group of Bunyoro district Muslim Council officials accusing them of breaking into the Imam’s house at Bwikya.

Some members of the Muslim community in Hoima are calling for dialogue as the conflict between Bwikya and Hoima town Mosques deepens.

On Tuesday, the chairman Bwikya Mosque Executive Iddi Magezi sued the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje and a group of Bunyoro district Muslim Council officials accusing them of breaking into the Imam’s house at Bwikya.

The Mufti ordered the officials to break the house padlock on April 5, when he visited the district to iron out the long standing row between Bwikya and Hoima town Mosque. The Mufti handed back the house to the district Khadi Sheik Musa Babanja, who had been evicted by the Bwikya group in October last year.

This angered the Bwikya faction prompting them to report the Mufti and his group to police. A case of malicious damage and criminal trespass has been entered at Hoima police station.

But some Muslims are unhappy with the direction the conflict has taken. Yusuf Isingoma, a resident of Busiisi condemns the action of Mubajje, arguing that the Mufti should have engaged both parties in dialogue first before ordering for the padlock breakage.

Isingoma also blames the Bwikya group for rushing to police other than using the established systems within the religion.

Ibrahim Muhumuza, of Kisenyi in Buhimba Sub County, says the conflict portrays Islam as a disorganized religion. He asks for roundtable discussions as the option to unite the conflicting parties and repair the damaged reputation.

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The conflict between Bwikya Muslim Community and the Hoima Town Mosque, backed by the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council dates back to 2011.This was after the Bwikya Mosque land title was processed in the names of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council instead of Bwikya Muslim Community as requested by the Bwikya group in 2010.

Since then the two groups have engaged in violent confrontations. Iddi Magezi, the Bwikya Mosque chairman says the land title cannot be in the names of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.

He argues that the more than 12 acre piece of land was given to Bwikya Muslim Community by Omukama Sir Tito Winyi of Bunyoro in 1958.

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Disagreements over alleged sale of Muslim property led to a split between the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council based at Old Kampala and the Kibuli faction of the Muslims. Mufti Mubajje was taken to court but the case against him was dismissed. The Kibuli faction went on to install their own Supreme Mufti, Sheikh Zubair Kayongo. Mosques around the country are now divided along these two rival leaders.