Muslim Martyrs Commemoration to be Held on June 10

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Muslim Martyrs Commemoration to be Held on June 10
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The annual commemoration of Muslim Martyrs will take place on June 10, 2024, as announced by Professor Badru Ddungu Kateregga, the chairperson of the Muslim Martyrs Mosque Development Committee.

The announcement was made during a press conference held on Friday evening at Professor Kateregga's residence in Buziga.

To avoid confusion with the celebration of other martyrs, the date was changed from June 1st, as explained by Prof. Kateregga. He highlighted the significance of this event, stating, "Muslims were the first Ugandans to be martyred back in 1874/75. However, their history remains relatively unknown. It has taken us 15 years to raise awareness about Muslim Martyrs since Muslims did not extensively document their history."

The commemoration will commence with prayers for the Muslim Martyrs at the Shuhadah Mosque in Namugongo on June 8th, 2024.

"We will retrace the path of the Muslim Martyrs, culminating in a grand event at the national mosque on June 10th, 2024. This commemoration aims to raise awareness about the numerous Muslims who were martyred in our country," he added.

Prof. Kateregga emphasized that the event also serves to promote religious tolerance.

"Advocating for religious tolerance is an integral part of this event as many of our families consist of individuals from diverse religious backgrounds," he explained. Addressing critics, he clarified that martyrdom holds a revered place in Islam.

"Martyrdom is highly regarded in Islam, and martyrs are esteemed. Our objective is to preserve our heritage and promote religious tourism that adheres to both local and international standards," he elaborated.

He expressed gratitude to the government for its support in these endeavours.

"I am pleased that both the Muslim leadership and the country's leadership have demonstrated faith in my efforts concerning the Muslim Martyrs. I am grateful that the government has finally agreed to support our initiatives through the faith-based tourism program under the tourism ministry," he acknowledged.

Recently, parliament allocated slightly more than Shillings 200 million for the Muslim Martyrs commemoration. Haji Sulaiman Musana Kawunguzi, the coordinator of the Muslim Martyrs Mosque Development Committee, revealed that they have already submitted a development plan to the Ministry of Finance, pending implementation.

During the same press conference, Dr. Sheikh Ziyad Swaleh Lubanga, the Director of Sharia at UMSC, highlighted that Muslim martyrdom traces back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

"The Battle of Badr saw the martyrdom of fourteen Muslims. For 23 years of the Prophet Muhammad's mission, at least 230 Muslim martyrs were recorded," he explained. Referring to Quran 3:169, Dr. Lubanga emphasized that Islam honours those who die defending their faith.

"And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provisions." He further added, "Even the Prophet Muhammad taught us about martyrs. While there are various categories, in our context, we refer to those who were killed in the way of their Lord, regardless of their location. Whoever dies in Uganda for their faith is considered a martyr, and there is no distinction between them and other martyrs."

Dr. Lubanga underscored the importance of documenting these martyrs.

"It is our responsibility to document those who have been killed in the way of their Lord. Our task is to inform others about our martyrs, just as others have done in their respective countries. These individuals should never be forgotten. In 2023, I accompanied the Mufti to Medina, where we visited the cemetery of Muslim martyrs. A mosque was constructed at the site for those who visit to pray for the martyrs," he shared.

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