Recently some angry Muslims in Mangochi attacked and chased the District Education Manager’s (DEM) office and destroyed property belonging to Primary Education Adviser (PEA) Chauluka Muwake who they accuse of introducing education rules that violate Islamic teachings.
This follows the failure by the Ministry of Education to act on the petition that the Muslims in Namwera presented to the District Education Manager for Mangochi, Sam Kalanda last week. Among other things, Muwake has been accused of introducing double shifts in primary schools in the eastern region in order to make Muslim children to miss madressah lessons that are always conducted in the afternoon and he has also been accused of chasing Muslim teachers who wear hijab in schools in his area of control despite the fact that the region is predominantly Muslim and championing the teaching of Bible Knowledge instead of Religious knowledge.
As an educated person and having known that Mangochi is one of the districts in the country that have a higher population of Muslims, he could have refrained from such acts since they are being interpreted as that he is acting as an agent of those who have an agenda to eradicate Islam in the district.
The country moved from one party rule to democracy in 1994 .The coming of democracy removed several restrictions that were there during the one party era.
The constitution of this country gives people several freedoms which include freedom of worship, association and dressing. Gone are days where people were remaining silent and living in fear while their freedom was being violated. As Malawians, we need to respect our traditions and cultural values.
There is a saying which says when you are in Rome do what the Romans do, as an educated person Muwake could have have been wise enough to refrain from such kind of attitude. Much as I condemn the behavior of destroying property and putting the lives of an innocent woman and children at risk, what happened to Muwake should act as a wakeup call to other people who go to the district with sinister agenda.
Muwake should take example of notable politicians like the former president Dr Bakili Muluzi who respect cultural values and religious faiths of other people. We need to learn to understand and co-exist with each other regardless of our religious beliefs.
Chasing a female teacher at Masongola 1 Primaly School just because she was in hijab during working time, when the government can allow her to have a passport in hijab, was a total violation of her freedom of dressing and cannot be condoned.
The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Malawi Muslims Official Website team.