Fasting fury: Tanzanian Muslims Warned not to break fast with DIPLOMATS!

Game Theory

JF-Expert Member
Sep 5, 2006
Some clerics in Tanzania have been angered by Western embassies who have invited Muslims to break their fast with them during Ramadan.

Iftar - the first meal eaten after sunset during the fasting month - is usually a banquet of delicious food which in Tanzania includes spicy coconut stews, chapattis, rice, porridge with black pepper and vermicelli pasta fried with sugar.

But some Muslim leaders in Tanzania have cautioned against eating such delights if they are provided by the US and UK governments who they believe are the cause of suffering to Muslims in the world.

"They are using force to suppress the Islamic religion. And this is why these Muslims do not want any co-operation with such people. This is the main reason why Muslims hate the Americans and the British people," Imam Issa Abdallah Ibrahim from Dar es Salaam's Ngazija Mosque told the BBC.

He also said US and UK donations and gifts should be rejected.

The mosque's deputy imam said as a peaceful religion, Islam does not prohibit its followers from interacting with people from other faiths, but it does bar followers from embracing an oppressor.

"My understanding is that by law Muslims are not prevented from going to any Iftar meals in various embassies," Ismaili Selemani Juma said.

"But because of what the West is doing against their Muslim brothers in other countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq that is why they are asking Muslims not to attend these Ramadan dinners."


The British High Commission in Tanzania, which has held Iftar meals for years, says they believe such views are marginal.

US Ambassador Mark Green at an Iftar meal in an orphanage
Diplomats say such events help create understanding

"I think most people that we have met have welcomed the opportunity to strengthen common values and understanding to appreciate the value of each other and to benefit from the mutual interaction that these kind of events give us the opportunity to have," spokesman John Bradshaw said.

The chief mufti of the National Muslim Council of Tanzania, Sheikh Issa Shaaban Simba, has also played down the clerics' comments which were published in Tanzania's weekly An-nuur Islamic paper.

He recently met new US Ambassador Mark Green and says Islam teaches leaders to build a good relationship with all nations - even to work with the enemies.

The US embassy in Tanzania, which was blown up in 1998 by al-Qaeda, has acknowledged that some religious leaders have privately voiced their concerns to the mission about ongoing US actions especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the embassy's public affairs spokesman says these countries now have democratically elected governments which need US support.

"The United States believes it is important to support all governments that are working to ensure terrorism does not prevail," Jeffrey Salaiz said.

He said US officials have maintained a significant dialogue with Tanzanian clerics and would continue to do so.

Muslims make up about 35% of Tanzania's 38.4 million population.
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