The Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) has commended Malawi Government under the leadership of Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika for giving Muslims in Mangochi a land to be used for Islamic activities.
Muslims in Mangochi have been blaming the government for favouring other religious groupings when it came to the issue of land allocation, the thing which forced them in 2016 to start occupying some ‘abandoned’ government places saying they couldn’t allow to be oppressed on their own soil.
The concerned Muslims said they didn’t have their own ground to conduct big events like Ijtmahs or Eid prayers – forcing them to borrow places belonging to other denominations “as if we are foreigners in our own land”.
After seeing the matter was getting worse day by day, the government enganged the Muslim community to hear their problems which led to the provision of the six-hectare of land early this year.
Speaking during Eid al-Adha prayers in Mangochi National Chairman for MAM Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad, said the land will be used for a number of developments which Muslims have been lacking such as schools, hospitals and other income generating activities.
“It’s long overdue for Mangochi being a Muslim-predominant area. In fact, we should have been the first to own so many infrastructures being indigenous people of this area but we had no capacity in the past to do so.
“That is why our ancestors opted to give it to people of other denominations because they had the capacity to come up with different developmental activities such as schools which have also benefited a lot of many Muslims including myself. So I am really thankful to the government and President Professor Peter Mutharika for giving us this land which is enough to cater for our own Islamic developmental activities,” he said.
The MAM Chairman also thanked those who fought for the “noble battle” saying their fight won’t go in vain.
The Muslim mother body has already drilled a borehole and Sheikh Idrissa said the construction of primary school starts next week.
In an interview, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika who is spokesperson for MAM said apart from the primary school, the organization will also construct a secondary school, hospital, a multipurpose hall and other infrastructures as part of the income generating activities.
“It’s a big land to cover several things. But the chairman has just mentioned one thing. It’s an opportunity we need to utilize wisely,” he said.
In his remarks, Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs Apostle Timothy Khoviwa said the provision of the land to Muslims by the government under the leadership of Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika just proves how important is the cordial relationship which exists between government and MAM.
“This is why since he attained power in 2014 the President has been attending all Ijtimas and the provision this land to Muslims just shows how committed he is towards respecting all religious faiths in Malawi,” he said.
Mangochi is a Muslim-predominant area, however, it has been lagging behind it terms of Islamic developmental activities. For example, up to now, Muslims still rely on schools of other denominations which sometimes not offer favorable environment due to some restricts policies that may deem to be discriminatory to Muslims such as prohibiting of Hijab for Muslim women in some schools.
Therefore, the move by government to provide such a bigger land and MAM’s decision to start the developmental activities is something that has put smiles on the faces of many Muslims who have been marginalized for a long time on their own soil.