The Muslim mother body in Malawi the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) has distanced itself from accusations it says are made by the Malawi police officers linking the religious body and its members to a terrorist organization.
General Secretary for MAM Sheikh Dr. Salmin Omar Idruss said in a statement issued Sunday that the association has heard that some police officers are linking Muslims in Malawi to terrorist groups and that the Muslims are not supposed to own land in Blantyre
“We found these sentiments to be segregatory. MAM has no connection to any terrorist group or any of its members,” says Idruss, “We are therefore dismayed the some elements in the society are discriminating MAM and its general membership based on their religious beliefs,” he adds.
The Sheikh was reacting to the arrest of Muslims on Friday for allegedly hacking and terrorizing the villagers who have encroached piece of land which is believed to belong to an Islamic Institution known as Blantyre Islamic Mission.
Idruss says in the statement the truth of the matter is that Muslim legally acquired the piece of land in 1986 which is known as Gada Farm situated at Chadzunda area in Blantyre. He said the ownership of the land was confirmed by the High Court in its judgment on June 11, 2013.
“From 1986 to 2012 MAM has been using the land peacefully without anyone claiming ownership of any right to the land. From early 1990s MAM entered in tenancy agreement with Speedys which lasted until 2011.
“In 2012 MAM noticed that some people were encroaching on its land a period during which it was about t to enter into another tenancy agreement with Petroda Company. However, the new tenant pulled out of the agreement due to the disputes”.
Idruss says in a bid to resolve the matter peacefully MAM has on several occasion held discussion with traditional authority Somba , the police at Milare as well as Blantyre and also the district commissioner for Blantyre.
“But the encroachment activities on the land continued.”
He says to ensure that the dispute is in accordance with the law, MAM instituted proceedings against the villagers where it turned out that the MAM was the legal owner of the land.
“While we expected that the matter will settle down following the court judgment, the Villagers have continued the terrorist activities against MAM officials assaulting them and tenants on the farm. The victims are Sheikh Muhamad Silika, Mr Sherif Kananji, and Mr Hassan Twibu. Some have been seriously injured and other have lost their possessions,” says Idruss.
“These acts are criminal and the police needed to take action by arresting the culprits and protecting Malawian citizen but nothing of the sort has happened. MAM believes that the passiveness of the police in failing to enforce the court judgment is encouraging the villagers to continue with their criminal activities against Muslims.
” Given these facts, MAM is compelled to believe that the some of the personalities in police are conniving with villagers to deprive Muslims of their rights in this country.
“We have heard the some villagers and police officers are saying the Muslims are not supposed to own land in Blantyre. Police officers have also linked Muslims in Malawi to terrorist groups..”
General Secretary for the Islamic Commission for Justice and Freedom, Hassan Chimwala has also condemned the Malawi Police for linking Malawi Muslims to Boko Haram.
“What type of police officers are we having in this country. Do they teach them racism when conducting their trainings? Do they know who Boko Haram are? Where is justice going? Is the law only applying to Muslims?” queries Chimwala.
Boko Haram, a Hausa term meaning “Western education is sinful”, is loosely modeled on Afghanistan’s Taliban.
The militant group says it is fighting enemies who have wronged its members through violence, arrests or economic neglect and corruption.
Chimwala said Malawi Muslims are not connected in any way to Boko Haram, reminding Malawians that “unprofessionalism of police officers has contributed to causes of civil war in some countries.”
He has also criticized media outlets that branded Muslims who went to protect their land as “terrorists”.
“This is bringing confusion in the country which would eventually lead to riots.”
Malawi is officially a secular nation. Islam is the second largest religion in the country after Christianity. Muslims account for 36% of the country’s 16 million population.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :