Muslim Women Organisation (MWO) says it is planning to invite Her Excellency First Lady Madame Callista Mutharika to be Guest of Honour at this year’s Muslim women Ijtmah which will take place in Mponela, Dowa from September 30th to October 2nd.
MWO Central Region chairlady, Sr. Khatija Sama Hamdani, confirmed the development to Malawi Muslims Official Website on Thursday.
Hamdani said the move has come after being let down by fellow Muslim women and that they want also to be recognised by government as citizens of this country.
“We have for so many years been let down by our fellow Muslims. Despite sending them invitations, they never come or offer any assistance. They just say ‘I will come back to you,’ which shows that they are not interested in Islamic activities. Another thing that has made us to court the First Lady is that, as Muslims we need to make ourselves recognised. As you may be aware during the Dr Bakili Muluzi regime, Christians are the ones who benefited a lot. This is so because we isolate ourselves, we don’t want to expose ourselves as Muslims. If we don’t do this, then how will the government recognise us? ,” she said.
Sr. Hamdani however, said they have not yet sent the invitation to the first lady, but promised doing so before the end of next week.
She also said if the move to invite the first lady fails, the organising committee is going to invite one of other two women, whom she did not mention their names and that whether they are Muslims or not.
However, there have been allegations that some members from Southern region organising committee are not happy with the move of inviting the first lady, saying they are afraid of splitting Muslims who belong to different political parties, share different political ideologies.
“We have just told them to go ahead as it seems like they have already planned it. We see nothing wrong with inviting the first lady but we fear the split of the Muslim ummah as it was a case with MAM’s K50, 000 scandal. As an organisation, we have to appreciate that we have people with different political ideologies, who follow different political parties. So, they cannot be comfortable with the first lady’s presence as she will be representing the ruling DPP,” said one member of the committee who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Sr. Hamdani says Muslim women should expect many new things at this year’s Ijtmah. She said they have made Chitenje, special for the Ijtmah.
However, some Sheikhs have expressed reservations on the Chitenje. They argue that doing so, will be as if the women are copying from what people of other denominations do, while some argues that Chitenje shows the whole body structure, hence is prohibited.
But, Hamdani had this to say:
“It was not my personal decision. Women requested to have this cloth and they will not wear it as other people do. But even though, each and everyone use a chitenje in our homes.”
MWO holds Ijtmah every year and as usual, according to Hamdani, this year’s Ijtmah is expected to attract thousands of thousands Muslim women from all over the country.