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We must safeguard our religious harmony

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 9, 2008
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    We must safeguard our religious harmony

    2008-11-09 13:48:22
    By Imani Lwinga

    There is now concern that the religious harmony which this country has enjoyed prior to and after independence is, due to some man-initiated reasons, under threat.

    Since the negative side of poor religious relationship is normally dangerous to society, there is justification to the alarm raised by peace loving Tanzanians in regard to the unfolding religious disharmony.

    To begin with, it may be necessary to validate the contention that there has all along been peaceful co-existence of believers in different religious denominations who happen to live in a country proclaimed to be an island of peace and tranquility in Africa.

    Surely, there is ample evidence and examples to show that at least one�s religious faith and way of life is rarely a source of discomfort to him or to others he/she relates with.

    In the first place, we have never seen serious religion-inspired conflicts leading to disruption of peace and security in the country.

    The only incident I can recall is, one which took place about 15 years ago when unattended pigs strayed close to a mosque in Dar es salaam, thus enraging Muslim believers in the area and tempting fanatical ones among them to attack some pig breeders and pig meat butchers.

    The situation was, however, quickly calmed, thanks to a combination of State intervention and wise guidance provided by Muslim leadership.

    Indeed, the day-to-day life in Tanzania reveals a lot on the extent to which believers in major religious denominations in the country have learned to accommodate.

    When one is looking for a house or rooms to rent in any of our urban centres, no landlord bothers to enquire about the prospective tenant`s faith.

    As a result, you find tenants belonging to different religious denominations living together peacefully.

    During the Holy month of Ramadhan, non-Muslims in the country are always fully aware of what their Muslim brothers and sisters are going through, and give them as much cooperation as possible.

    In education institutions and at some workplaces, for example, Iftar is prepared and other arrangements are made to ensure fasting Muslims are not inconvenienced.

    Come Idd-el-fitr and it is a celebration for all, as is the case with Easter, Christmas and other religious occasions where all join hands to rejoice together.

    Enrolment in both Government and private schools in Tanzania is never based on religion, with the exception of seminaries which train the leadership cadre for specific religious denominations.

    Even increasing intermarriages of partners with different religious background is another indication of religious harmonious co-existence.

    Has the proven religious harmony in our society come about accidentally?

    No thank you. There is ample evidence to show that the post-independence first phase Government worked hard on this issue and bequeathed subsequent Governments a good foundation to be proud of.

    Freedom of worship was clearly enshrined in the constitution, which also unambiguously stipulates that while the people of this country belong to different religions, yet the state has no religion.

    Based on this principle, the State has all along tried to avoid interference in religious matters, except where they appear to pose a threat to national security.

    Today we have two issues which are potentially explosive and pose a threat to the peace we take for granted.

    These are the urge by some Muslims to make Tanzania a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and introduction of Islamic courts under the Chief Kadhi to handle mainly cases related to marriage and inheritance.

    Zanzibar first came up with the idea to unilaterally join the OIC in 1990s. The intention generated much controversy and the whole idea was shelved.

    It is the same demand which has resurfaced, but this time around the aim being to have the Republic of Tanzania as a member.

    Those who want Tanzania to join the OIC basically have one argument � that the organisation is a good source of development funds.

    Those opposing the move see no reason why a country with several major religions should join such a body. It is in this context that the issue becomes divisive.

    Some fundamental questions being raised by peace loving observers at this juncture include: Is it true that joining the OIC is a panacea to our economic woes?

    Are all members of the OIC economically better off than non-members?

    Should peace in society be sacrificed for the sake of money?

    Are politicians behind this move really statesmen or mere short sighted actors who can`t look beyond their stomachs? These and more questions still beg for answers.

    SOURCE: Guardian
  2. Bongolander

    Bongolander JF-Expert Member

    Nov 9, 2008
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    Bubu to me these are not questions, they are rather answers in themselves. Our nation have principles which she stands on, the foundation which she stands on. And these were built after tireless efforts and swaet and blood. I wonder why would these short sighted people dare to play with these core principals of our nationhood. We had this discussion before here in Tanzania, and we discoverd that the issue was brought by power addicts politically bankrupt people and politicians, who do not have any issue to bring into discussion, and who run away from the realities we are facing and divert our attention to this issue. I am sure they are doomed.