Churches to petition government for a Christian Court
According to Majira, religious antagonism that has been going on covertly came out into the open following a statement by some churches demanding their own court. Some Christian professionals were said to have come up with a draft bill aimed at establishing a Christian court so as to counter the move by government to start a Kadhi court for Muslims. One of the participants claimed that the government was showing signs of jettisoning its secular approach.
The Lutheran Evangelical Church has also asked the government not to establish a Muslim Kadhi court. The church warned that such a move might lead to religious conflicts and would be a violation of the country’s secular constitution. Similar statements have been issued by the Catholic church.
The Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) is however insisting on the court, telling non-Muslims to keep out of the matter. According to Tanzania Daima the government now finds itself between the deep sea and a hard place, since the founding of the court was part of the CCM election manifesto last year.
New Muslim group
Zanzibar Urban Regional Police Commander Juma Suleiman was quoted in the Guardian in November as saying that a group called Hizb ut Tahrir dedicated to uniting all Muslims in a ‘Pan-Islamic State’ had surfaced in the isles. Posters had been put up which read: ‘The solution is Khilaffa, a caliphate led by a single Islamic leader. “We knew the existence of the group but this was the first time that they had put up flyers,” Suleiman said. The group’s activities were under investigation.”
Hizb ut Tahrir is a worldwide party founded in 1953. “We are part of the international alliance believing that Muslims should be led by one caliphate,” said a group member Chande Khamis, speaking at his small mobile accessories shop in the heart of Zanzibar’s business district. “Democracy is the way of infidels, and we do not want it to be imposed on Muslim society,” adding that the group did not advocate violence. ”We want to lead a peaceful transition from a secular state to an Islamic state,” The group has faced opposition throughout its history from governments – wary of its plans to rejuvenate the caliphate, which after the early years of Islam was based successively in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and finally Istanbul. The leader of the caliphate was known as the Caliph, a successor to the Prophet Mohammad. Secular Turkey abolished the caliphate in 1924. Britain tried to ban Hizb Ut Tahrir in August 2005 after the July 7 London bombings but later backed off without giving a reason.
CUF spokesman Ismail Jussa, said the emergence of such groups was a result of failed democracy in Zanzibar, and distanced his party from it. “What do you expect but groups wanting to vent their anger?” he said.
CUF MP’s in Zanzibar told the House of Assembly that to allow a child born outside wedlock to inherit was to violate the teachings of Islam. This followed the tabling of an amendment to the law on registration of births and death. In future the ‘illegitimate’ child will be given the right to be registered by the father who accepts responsibility. A CUF MP objected to the amendment, saying it was tantamount to amending the Holy Scriptures and ‘that it was not acceptable’ – Tanzania Daima.
Freddie Mercury Festival
Celebrations to mark the 60th birthday anniversary of the famous British rock star, Freddie Mercury, which were to have taken place in his Zanzibar birthplace, were cancelled after protests by Muslim clerics. The festival, scheduled for the ‘Mercury restaurant’ was to have been attended by over 200 gays from all over the world. Mercury died of AIDS-related causes in London on 24th November 1991. Some Muslim bodies objected to the programme, saying it would promote ‘decadence’. Various mosques held special prayers invoking a curse on the influx of gays to the islands. Following the cancellation the participants decided to keep a low profile and left the islands – Mwananchi.