RELIGION

Recent developments:

AN-NUUR reported that Khadija Saidi, a Muslim woman had died of injuries sustained when police confronted a group of rioting Muslims at Furahisha grounds in Mwanza on September 8th and had been added to the list of Tanzanian shaheeds (Muslim martyrs who had died for their religion in Tanzania).

In another story AN-NUUR reported that Muslims were organizing themselves on what to do when the day of voting eventually came sometime in 2005. The paper quoted Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) chairman Augustine Mrema as saying that Muslims should unite and face the Government squarely ias the Iraqis and Afghans were doing to the Americans.

It is also reported that Sheikh Ali Abubakar, the Imam of the Aqsaa Mosque in Arusha, was attacked and injured critically in mid-November by colleagues who opposed his leadership. Machete-wielding Muslims fought pitched battles at the mosque forcing women and children to seek refuge at the Majengo Road police station.

Majira reported that on September 9 Mwanza police had used tear gas to disperse Muslims and Pentecostal Christians fighting for several hours over the right to use the Furahisha preaching ground in the city. One policeman was critically injured and one Muslim preacher was arrested for resisting police orders to stop the fighting. According to the paper, many residents were blaming the Mwanza authorities for giving the Christians a permit to use the Furahisha grounds knowing that the Muslims had a permit to use them.

At a public debate in Dar es Salaam recently under the heading ‘Reflection of Attitudes, Perceptions and Practices on Corporal Punishment’, it was stated that under the National Education Corporal Punishment Regulations (Control and Administration of Corporal Punishment in Schools), Act No. 25 of 1978, only six strokes, currently reduced to four, are to be administered to a student as a last resort, after all other means to rectify him/her have failed. One of the participants, Sheikh Hassan Chizenga, Secretary of the Council of Clerics (Ulamaa), from the Supreme Council of Tanzania Muslims (BAKWATA), said that Christianity and Islam condoned strokes as a means of deterring the child or any person from committing evils in society. He said western countries were being ruined because they had banned corporal punishment in schools and at family level and granted children the leeway to do whatever they wanted. European countries and the United States were doomed because of moral decay among their teenage boys and girls. “They kill, steal, commit adultery and disobey their parents, yet the law protects them,” he said. He warned that the same trend could happen in Tanzania if remedial steps were not taken. The Sheikh advised parents not to be harsh but, at the same time, not to be too Lenient -Guardian.

The Anglican Church of Tanzania has condemned the consecration of Rev. Canon Gene Robinson, a gay bishop in the Episcopal Church of the United States, saying that homosexuality was against the Word of God. In a statement published in the Guardian, the Church said that it did not recognize the Rev. Canon Robinson to be a bishop, nor would it recognise any homosexual person who might be consecrated in the future ….. the Anglican Church remained obedient to the Word of God and homosexuality was a sin.

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