Muslim leaders in Malawi have advised Mrs Joyce Banda’s new Government to consult Muslims’ mother body before it enters into any bilateral relationship with Islamic countries to avoid creating religious tension among the Muslim faithful.
The call was made at a 3-day workshop organized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Committee for Dawah in Africa held at Al-Baraka Charity Trust Centre in Zomba last weekend amid speculations that there is sudden increase of Shiasm in the country after Malawi government entered into cordial relationship with Iran few years ago.
Speaking at the function as a Guest Speaker, former Malawian High Commissioner to UK Mr Ibrahim Milazi hinted that when he heard the government’s desire to make ties with Iran, he wrote a cautious confidential memo to the late President [Bingu wa Mutharika] advising him on how dangerous was in making relationship with Iran due to its infamous Shiaism – which he says it was unfortunately ignored.
Milazi therefore cautioned the new Malawi government not to haste in mending diplomatic relations with Islamic world without engaging the Muslim mother bodies in the country.
“I wish the government officials who were invited were here – this message was for them that they should be cautions when making diplomatic relations with any Islamic country. There are other countries that proclaim themselves as Islamic yet they have some strange beliefs that can sow seeds of divisions across the Muslim faithful if they are to be accepted in the country without consulting the indigenous Muslims themselves first,” said Milazi who is also the Executive Director of Al-Baraka Charity Trust.
However, Milazi asked the Muslim community to be pro-active in being organized and participate in advising their own government before taking such actions and not waiting for criticism at a later stage.
Concurring with Milazi, chairperson of the organizing Committee, Sheikh Dr Imran Shareef Mahommed, said the consequences of government not consulting the Muslim community in issues that concern them, is what has made the country to have about 36 Malawians studying Shiasm in Iranian Universities.
“The problem is that these Malawians went there out of ignorance – because Iran is an Islamic country then they thought there is no problem for them to undertake education from there which is not true. On the other hand, Malawi government thinks it is getting a favour in that because Iran is educating its citizens free of charge but it is very dangerous to us as Muslims of this country.
“Shia belief is very different from our belief. They have many other strange beliefs which no any single Muslim in Malawi believe – so to avoid creating religious tension, it is good for Malawi to consult us before entering into any relationship with Islamic countries,” lamented Dr Shareef.
No any government official was available for a comment.
Reporting by Abdullah I.O Mdala