Muslim Association of Malawi chairperson Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad has justified the cancellation of this year’s Islamic gathering called ijitma.
The gathering, which was initially scheduled to take place in October this year, was postponed due to financial constraints.
This prompted the committee to intensify its task of soliciting funds since some traditional donors were reluctant to fund the function due unconfirmed reports that suggested the organizing committee approached Malawi’s state president Bingu wa Mutharika to sponsor the event which its budget amounted to 7 million kwacha.
But the committee’s effort hit a snag after it managed only to source over 3 hundred thousand Kwacha hence putting the staging of the gathering this year in jeopardy.
A couple of weeks ago treasurer for the committee Jack Kaombe told Radio Islam that his committee has failed to source funds and only waited for the chairman to decide the way forward.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi Muslims website, Sheikh Muhammad Idrissa said the writing was clear on the wall that the Ijitma has failed to take place due to financial Problems.
‘’Muslims have not contributed towards the event as it has been in the previous years. Therefore, we should not panic the committee responsible because it is not their problem,’’ he said.
However, Sheikh Sharif who contested in the MAM polls in April 2011 but lost miserably in his bid to take the chairmanship said from next year his organization will be responsible in terms of organizing Ijtimah.
The newly appointed Supreme Council of Ulama in Malawi chairperson recently told Radio Islam that his organization was upset with the failure of staging the annual gathering this year.
But sheikh Muhammad Idrissa laughed off the suggestion saying that the national Islamic Ijtima which was established a couple of years ago is under MAM .
The MAM Chair previously served as the leader of the committee, which since its establishment Ijtima has been so attractive than before when the whole process of organizing the event was marred by controversies such as money swindling and poor organization.
“I was once the chairperson for that committee and one should know that the committee is independent. It has its own bank accounts and only approaches MAM for guidance,” said the chair.
He added that suggesting detaching the committee from MAM is very unfortunate because already several organisations have their own Ijtmah.
“There are a lot of gatherings, why having special interest in this one? Why can’t you say that from next year, we will be organizing ours?” asked Sheikh Muhammad.
Meanwhile, Mufti Cassim Abbas who is also former Ulamah Council of Malawi chairman which now parades itself as Supreme Council of Ulama in Malawi, said that he is very saddened and appalled by the cancellation of year’s Ijtmah, which he attributed to the lack of unity among Muslims in the country.
“This is very sad and most unfortunate development. We Muslims are not united. We are busy fighting for unnecessary things. I think politics have now fully entered into our blood. How can we fail to contribute money for the Ijtmah?” he asked.
Reporting by Ali Blessings in Blantyre and Marshall Dyton in Mangochi