UMSC disappointed with government's insufficient funding for Namugongo's Muslim site

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UMSC disappointed with government's insufficient funding for Namugongo's Muslim site
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The Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) has voiced its disappointment with the government for providing insufficient financial assistance towards the development of Muslim sites especially when compared to support given to other religious denominations.

These sentiments were expressed during a meeting between a delegation of UMSC departmental heads and officials from the Ministry of Tourism.

UMSC has been entrusted with the responsibility of organizing the Muslim Martyrs Commemorative Day, scheduled to take place on June 10, 2024.

Leading the delegation was Abdu-Razaak Arinda, Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Development, accompanied by notable figures such as Kagiiko Imam Shaffi, Secretary for Social Services, Sulaiman Musana Kawanguzi, Protocol Officer, and National Coordinator for the redevelopment of the Muslim Martyrs Site in Namugongo, among others.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Kagiiko reiterated UMSC's ambitious plan to launch the Muslim Martyrs Day program, to redevelop the Muslim site in Namugongo, including the construction of a magnificent mosque.

He explained that UMSC intends to utilize the occasion to educate the public about the history of the Muslim Martyrs, who were among the first natives to sacrifice their lives for the Islamic faith when it was newly introduced to Uganda.

"While we have meticulously planned the program for the day, along with the attached budget, we were dismayed by the government's response, which provided significantly less financial support compared to that given to other religious denominations," expressed Kagiiko.

He informed the Ministry officials that UMSC had intended to invite its entire structure, comprising 10 Muslim regions, 78 Muslim districts, 688 counties, and 15,341 locally registered mosque leaders.

Other guests include 10 Muftis from East Africa and beyond, ambassadors, national political leaders at all levels, cultural institutions, international developmental partners, and charitable organizations, among others.

Basil Ajer, the Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities, refuted any insinuations of ill intentions from the Tourism Ministry regarding the budget submitted by UMSC.

He attributed the reduction in the budget to various factors, primarily alleged hostilities expressed by certain individuals within the Muslim community who used their positions to undermine UMSC's efforts to develop the Muslim Martyrs Site.

Ajer expressed their commitment to the development of Shuhadah Mosque in Namugongo and emphasized the Ministry's dedication to collaborating closely with the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) to promote religious tourism as a means of generating foreign earnings and fostering development.

He encouraged UMSC to devise a comprehensive development plan for other Muslim historic sites across the country, assuring them of support in realizing the presidential pledge to compensate encroachers on the Muslim Martyrs site in Namugongo.

UMSC was also urged to seek developmental partners from the global Muslim community to preserve Muslim heritage for future generations. The council was also advised to engage Muslim politicians and high-profile personalities in resource mobilization efforts for the development of Muslim sites.

Following the meeting, UMSC officials from the Ministry travelled to Namugongo for a fact-finding tour of the site. They engaged in several hours of interactive discussions with the Wakiso Muslim District leaders and Namugongo Mosque Committee in preparation for the planned events and resolved to hold further meetings to ensure a memorable and colourful celebration.

After being briefed on UMSC's status as the officially recognized body of all Muslims by the Ugandan government, the host officials pledged to uphold that status and promised to enhance collaboration between the Ministry and the Council.

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