NEWS FROM THE FAITHS

The former Institute of TANESCO in Morogoro is to be converted into a Muslim University. This was announced by President Mkapa when he was inaugurating the Muslim Development Foundation (MDF) in May. TShs 1bn/- has been collected for the project. The President contributed TShs 10m/- to the fund and Vice-President Ali Mohammed Shein pledged TShs 5m/-.
Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume contributed TShs 9m/- and Prime Minister, Frederick Sumaye, pledged TShs 5m/-. – Guardian.
Muslims who camped in Mwanza for a week doing self-help work in constructing a secondary school have been hailed as a people who have ‘rediscovered themselves.’ Imams who participated in the self-help project called on Muslims to stop complaining and do whatever they can to liberate themselves from poverty and ignorance – An-Nuur.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Jakaya Kikwete has revealed that certain people are questioning his close relationship with the Lugoba Catholic Church in his constituency of Chalinze. “Some say I have a political agenda in donating handsomely to Lugoba Church while others, especially fellow Muslims, have gone to the extent of questioning my sincerity in the Islamic faith that I profess.” He said that he was helped by Lugoba church to pursue further studies and that he could have ended at Standard IV in school if it were not for the church’s assistance – Mwananchi.

Bishop Godfrey Mhogolo of the Central Tanganyika Diocese of the Anglican Church was quoted in The Mirror (July 13) as saying that the Government was spending a lot of taxpayers’ money on unnecessary seminars and workshops in big conference halls instead of addressing the problems facing village folk. On next year’s general elections, Bishop Mhogolo advised Tanzanians to take whatever they might be given by the candidates as bribes to buy their votes, but said that such candidates should not be voted in. “I want this message to spread that if a stupid candidate comes to you and gives you money, cloth, alcohol or whatever to influence your decision, take it but do not vote for him/her,” he said.

Members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives should debate the increasing number of churches now under construction in the Isles especially in rural Zanzibar and not the legality of the operations of the radical Uamsho group of Moslems (JUMIKI) according to the Islamic newspaper An-Nuur. The MP’s should also ask the Government if it was aware of the existence of a questionnaire with 71 difficult questions set by the Tanzania Pentecostal Church. Failing to answer these questions was the cause of many Moslems joining Christianity. This move came after some MP’s had asked the Government in the House to de-register JUMIKI for allegedly inciting the largely Moslem population of Zanzibar.

There was fighting and chaos at a burial ceremony in Shinyanga municipality involving Moslems and Christians when an Acting Secretary of the main Mosque in Ndala Division, Ramadhani Kitumbo, announced that Christians and non-believers were not allowed to participate in burial and wedding ceremonies that involved Moslems. According to Mtanzania one of the Moslems attending the funeral told journalists that the order to segregate Christians and non-believers was issued by a special Moslem Committee. Another said that aggrieved Moslems had joined their Christian and pagan relatives to fight the fundamentalist section of the Moslem community in the area. The radical Imam involved was subsequently summoned and warned.
The Express in its July 5th issue reported that the US would increase the amount of money designated for Tanzania in its fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. The article then went on to examine the attitude of the Catholic Church to Aids. Extracts: ‘Although caring for many AIDS sufferers in the country, it has been argued that the Church is a killer rather than a healer. Its critics say that as long as it continues to reject condoms, it can be charged with contributing to the spread of the disease. Following the teachings of the Church, the proper and only way of halting the spread is to foster a change in moral behaviour. The Pope had made it clear however that the Church would not change its perception on condoms and soften its ban, despite the prevailing circumstances of rapid spread of the disease. The Church refused to deal with human realities and, because of this, Christian teaching would be upheld at the cost of many people’s lives…. A church that did not pay respect to the circumstances in which it preaches had failed in its mission….’
The Government of Zanzibar sent Sheikh Kurwa Shauri back to his home in Tabora insisting that his actions posed a threat to national security. Muslim fundamentalists then started a campaign aimed at pressing the Government to reverse its decision. Sheikh Shauri had been arrested at the Zanzibar port the moment he set foot on the Isles as an order issued in 1993 was still valid. He was said to have been repeatedly warned to stop making derogatory statements.

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