Muslim leaders in Luwero district have asked the Internal Affairs Minister, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire to reign on security personnel linking terror activities to Islam. Several Imams and Muslims have been arrested from Luwero district since the year began for their alleged links to terror-related activities.
The recent incident occurred when joint police and military team raided a hill at Kireku village in Luwero district in June this year and forcefully disbanded a group of 70 Muslim converts claiming that they were being radicalised.
In the same month, security raided the home of Umar Kabonge Ajobe, a resident of Kikubajinja zone in Luwero town claiming that he was using it to assemble bombs to terrorize Kampala city. Ajobe and two others who were arrested for their alleged links to the rebel Allied Democratic Forces are still locked up in an unknown facility.
On Wednesday, a group of Muslims in collaboration with the Office of the President organized a meeting at Luwero Islamic Primary School to sensitize Muslim leaders allied to the Kibuli faction in Greater Luwero on countering terrorism, radicalism, extremism, and promote social-economic transformation.
The meeting was attended by Internal Affairs Minister General Kahinda Otafiire. During the meeting, Muslim leaders told Otafiire that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, arguing that it was wrong for security personnel to target Muslims in their operations to stop terror.
Hajji Musa Kakande, the Chairperson of the Greater Luwero Muslim district told Otafiire that despite the fact that several non-Muslims in Uganda and other countries have committed terror acts, it has never been linked to their religion.
Kakande explained that they are concerned that several Muslims have been arrested and their individual acts linked to their faith.
Abdul Kadir Kizza, the Greater Luwero Kadhi under the Kibuli faction told Otafiire that families are living in pain over the arrest of their children on alleged terror activities because of allegations by self-seekers.
Other leaders led by Imam Jumah Ntume of Busiika Masjid Taqwa condemned the brutal and selective arrests of Muslims without concrete evidence to implicate them. They also asked those arrested to be prosecuted in courts of law without undergoing torture if there is evidence pinning them.
Alhajji Abdul Nadduli, the former Deputy Chairperson of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC, said that some Muslim leaders are arrested over family and property wrangles and illegally connected to terrorism. He asked security personnel to consult local leaders and conduct thorough investigations before arresting Muslims, saying these operations taint the government’s image.
In his response, Otafiire denied that the government was linking Islam to terrorism. He, however, hastened to ask the leaders to tell their followers to stop committing crimes in disguise of religion. Otafiire said that security personnel won’t arrest non-Muslims without any case for the sake of balancing the suspects linked to terrorism.