Northern Region Based Muslims Ask MAM to Step Down – “We are Tired of Oppression, Tribalism”

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    MAM Chair: Under Pressure

    Concerned Muslims from Karonga have asked Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) administration to resign due to nepotism, tribalism, monopolism, oppression and, selfishness, Malawi Muslims Official Website understands.

    According to the letter sent to MAM which this website has a copy, the concerned Muslims from the northern region blames the Muslim’s mother body for the problems facing the region.

    MAM secretary General has meanwhile confirmed receiving the letter.

    The concerned Muslims wonder why MAM is having Yao people in all strategic positions.

    “The implication of this is that Islam in Malawi is all for the Yao tribe specifically and no one else deserves to be a Muslim. The Yao Muslims of Malawi under MAM introduced and established quality Islamic literacy including all informal ones for their members to get educated so that they can monopolize the leadership positions everywhere else even away from their homes as it is the case in all Muslim communities across the country,” claims the letter.

    The letter has also blamed the Muslim mother body for unfair enrolment of students in   Islamic learning centres that are in South and Central regions.

    It states that ‘only students that are belonging to the Yao tribe are abundantly and redundantly being selected even if the interviews have being conducted at the heart of the Northern Region of Malawi’.

    The concerned northern region Muslims accuse MAM of deliberately allowing Islamic organisations to be establishing Islamic infrastructure in the Southern and Central regions of Malawi.

    “This scenario makes the Northern Region to be at a disadvantage in regard to development.

    The concerned Muslims also blames MAM for being a causative agent of the deteriorating of Islam in the northern region and believes that the association has now become a political anchor that all political parties scramble for it to gain popularity from the electorate who belong to Islam as their belief.

    “MAM is an Organisation that lacks long vision for the interest of Malawian Muslims. In every tenure of office, MAM recruits the majority of its members who are opportunists and corrupt who always think of themselves first instead of delivering the services to the public regardless of their region, tribe and whether majority or minority status. This happens right from the National Executive level to the district level.

    “It is running Islam in Malawi as a political game rather than spiritual, as it considers the majority first in all aspects of Islamic developments while ignoring the minority and depriving them of their birth rights,” reads part of the letter.

    The Karonga based Muslims therefore say they have discovered that as long as the Northern Region of Malawi remains under the “deceptive” authority of MAM, the area will not be Islamically developed because the association and its allies is not interested in the plight of the minority Muslims.

    “This point alone is evident this year especially when MAM held their annual Islamic Congregation, IJTIMAA at Kamuzu Stadium where they spent Millions of Kwachas in a period of three days while the Northern Region is still languishing in total ignorance of Islamic literacy.”

     The concerned citizens have since asked MAM administration to step down before they take an unspecified action.

    “We are tired of this kind of oppression and enough is enough,” says the letter.

    However, in his response MAM Secretary General Dr Salmin Omar Idrus has downplayed the call for resignation saying the stated problems have been there since time immemorial.

    “We are going to meet and discuss the grievances raised by the concerned Muslims. Their grievances are genuine,” he said.

    8 COMMENTS

    1. salaam concerned muslims from Karonga, all points noted , koma mukunama inu (MUSLIM WOMEN ORGANIZATION IS UNDER MAM BUT THE NATIONAL  CHAIRLADY OF MWO IS FROM KARONGA) BWANJI PAMENEPO,CHONDE CHOTSANI MANEGATIVE ALTITUDESWO KUTI TIKHONZE ZINTHU ZOLAKWIKAZO BASI

    2. Dear all,

      I am concurring with the view of fellow brothers from the north. My understanding of standard of work in this organisation seems to be selective beginning from district level. The instance is the way they handled the issue of M'bawa Masjid sheikh by the name Abdul Aziz Smart at Soche Quary in Blantyre. This sheikh was at one time called for interviews so that he could be on the MAM's payroll. The idea of employing the sheikh came after one of the committee members who attended a certain meeting for committee members around Blantyre City South, Organised by Abdul Aziz Onile, expressed the plan to retrench him (the sheikh) following failure by jamaat who had been paying the salary for 3 years. Due to withdrawal of most people who pledged to support the payment of salary, it had been that for 6 moths sheikh received inadequate salary and this forced the committee to think of releasing the sheikh if he can look for other greener pastures thereby leaving about 37 children to walk around without attending madrassa. Chairman for Blantyre Muslim Association who was present at the meeting held at Soche Masjid (kaamba) promised to do something and that the committee should not let the sheikh go.Four days letter there came a call through brother Tony Chirambo, a sectretary, to tell the sheikh go to MAM and attend interview which he did and passed. Suprisingly he was told that he was going to be posted to Mwanza /Neno District. The M'bawa Committee approached the MAM office and met Sheikh Samson, brother Abbas and other, who after long discussion accepted to employ the sheikh BUT to remain where he teaches and not to go to Mwanza as earlier planned. This was the period  between April and May. Until today they have never said anything regarding paying the sheikh's salary and we feel this has been due to their failure to snatch the sheikh from one masjid to the other due to reasons well known to them.If somebody wants to rate this organisation having experiencing the above, would it be like or unlike. If trust is lacking in our mother body at district level, can we expect trust to exist at national level. Until today a sheikh is starving waiting for a miracle to happen so that life can be back to normal.

      Please muslim leaders, understand your roll in the muslim ummat so that the organisation can really be meant to be a releaf for muslim problems.

      Ishmael. 

    3. I condemn the classifying of human beings into groupings. Why? The groupings are the source of the problems that the world faces today. Every group wants to be seen or considered the most superior in everythig that its members do or not do. Consequently, conflicts are inevitable as the groupings contagiously clamour for this superiority. Killings arising from hatred by one grouping towards another grouping, take for instance, the Jews and the Arabs, are common.

      What I have stated above is what has clearly emerged in the Karonga Muslims concerns. Do the tribes of the people matter in the decisions making process of our leaders or the subjects of a particular leadership? If that is the case then conflicts are inevitable. In the Karonga issues, the fact that the concerned Muslims have raised these issues along the groupings that the targetted people belong rather than along the process of identifying those people or along the performance of those persons show that the concerned Muslims somehow have not fairly tackled the issues. To me, the tribe of a human being should not be used when it comes to pointing out mistakes of a decision maker. The use of tribes as a basis of pointing out mistakes of a decision maker breeds hatred. 

        

    4. The allegation that MAM is a regime of tribalism is far from correct. Those few people from the North who want to confuse many Muslims from the North and the rest of the Muslims are forgetting that the those people who are in this regime did not appoint themselves to hold those positions in MAM but rather they were voted. They have also forgotten that Islam is brotherhood and not dividing people. I will give some verses from the Qur'an because the Qur'an, the word of the Creator of the entire creation, is the medicine for all our problems in this world. The problems which we are worried about  were already answered 1400 years ago but most of us know not.

      The one who created us, Allah, tells us to be united and not to be looking where is this person coming from, thus ending up in dividing each other.

      Qur'an 3:103 Allah the Almighty points out "And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

      Furthermore Allah tells us why he made us  from different tribes.  Allah did NOT say he created us from different  tribes so that we should hate each other, NO!, but for us to know each other.

      Qur'an 49:13 Allah the Most High points out "O mankind, indeed We have
      created you from male and female and made you peoples and
      tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble
      of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.
      Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted."Had we all understood the verse above we could not have been looking where is so and so coming from? Is he Tumbuka, a Yao, a Chewa or a Sena? Had we pondered over the above verse this could not be happening at all.Imagine had we all come from same place, had same face, be of same tribe, who could be willing to know the other? May be we could be using numbers instead of names. So our problem is ignorance, remember our prophet said ignorance is the mother of destruction that is why we are coming across such allegations. Most of us Muslims lack the knowledge of the one who created us and our beloved messenger (pbuh). My dear respected brothers and sisters in Islam, let us all seek the knowledge of the one who created us. Seeking the knowledge does not everyone a Sheikh or Shekhati but rather it is mandatory upon every Muslim.Remember our beloved prophet(pbuh) stated "Seeking knowledge is the mandatory upon every Muslim."I also remind the Muslim who are administrators of this website that there job is to unite Muslims, this should always be in their minds. Remember that if we divide Muslims, any results we shall be held responsible  on the day of Qiyama. You may want to take these words for granted but ponder over it. Ponder over what the Qur'an is saying about Jahannam. We hope this message will assist all of us including those  who had misconceptions.

    5. I totally disagree with the approach the concerned Muslims from Karonga
      have taken. They are pointing fingers at Yao Muslims instead of pointing
      fingers at organisational factors. This is totally wrong and
      unacceptable. What the concerned Muslims from Karonga should know is
      that Yao Muslims are available in large numbers throughout the Country
      and they should be happy to be living with their Brothers in harmony.
      What is most important for true Muslims is to love their fellow Muslims
      because of Allah and not because of a tribe. It should have been a great
      worry if they complained in their letter that Yaos are segregating indigenous Muslims. 

      I have the letter but what is in the letter is unIslamic because the accsusations made are based on tribe rather pointing out wrongs by some Muslims. They have alleged that Yao Muslimsare behind the selection of children to
      various Islamic Secondary Schools which is a great lie. I don't know if
      they are aware that most of these Institutions are led by non-Malawians
      who are not Yao by origin. I don't know if the intention of the letter
      was meant to address problems for Northern Region Indigenous Muslims
      only. There are a lot of poor Yaos working in estates who are
      experiencing similar problems the concerned Muslims are facing.

      The issue of underdevelopment in the North is a long standing issue
      which requires the attention of each and every Muslim in Malawi inluding
      the Yaos and the so-called concerned Muslims of Karonga. The spirit
      shown by the concerned Muslims should be condemned in all possible
      terms. All Muslims in the Northern Region regardless of tribe are
      experiencing problems especially on Islamic Education. I have heard a
      number of times Yaos and some of the concerned Muslims complaining about
      these issues at a number of forums.

      I am further surprised that the concerned Muslims have accused MAM as
      body responsible for mass literacy to Yaos with the aim of making them
      rulers of other tribes in our religion. Let the authors of the letter make Tauba for whatever they have writtten.

      The way forward is that MAM should sit down with these people and stop the spirit of dividing Muslims because of tribes.  

    6. Assalam Alykum,
      The sentiments from the Northern Region are very important. These sentiments have to be appreciated and the response or reaction based on reality. The problem we have with Muslim Association is that it is not run as an institution / organization that should respond to the needs of the time. It is high time we had MAM that was headed by competent people who know how to lead an organization. I am of the opinion that the current structure / constitution does not make MAM capable of dealing with the issues that an "association" needs to deal with. It is high time we realized that we don't need a shiekh to be an "associations" chairperson. We need competent, well trained person with organizational skills to lead this entity. The Ulama council is the one that will deal with the issues of interpreting the religions aspects of our existence as muslims in Malawi. If MAM was led by competent person's, it would know the importance of a strategic plan, effecting it and constant updating of the plan to suit the things or events taking place. It would make sense for instance that we should have Islamic school (s) in the North as part of propagation strategy. We are supposed to make this only TRUE faith available to all people and indeed a school in the north can be one of the effective strategies.

      I then propose that we start a process to amend the MAM constitution so that any qualified person should be able to lead the association, not only shiekhs. So far the Shiekhs have been "used" by politicians. We need people who will resist such things. I remember one MAM chairman who was always where the president (then) was all the time, as if MAM was a branch of the "party". We need to understand what an association is in order to appreciate what I am proposing. I will be very disappointed if people who don't understand the concept of "association" react to this proposal. I would like to see, if anyone responds, reaction that radiates an understanding of the concept and plausible reason why we should have a shiekh, whose training for instance might not have prepared him to lead an institution in the current environment. We can and we have competent shiekhs but not all of the are prepared well enough to lead us. For instance, MAM chairperson has to represent us in high profile forums where the medium of communication is English and you have a Shiekh who might not be good at the language, how do you see that chairperson participate. We can have a shiekh on the committee (executive) always but not the chairmanship. The association is not there to lead in prepares, NO!! it is there to get us associate through well thought through activities etc, that can be done by a person who majored in something to do with running an organization.

      While some people have commented that MAM is not pro-Yao, the truth is so glaring, MAM has been led for a very long time by Yao muslims and especially those from Mangochi and Machinga. So many Masjids are built along the Mangochi road. Honesty is one of the elements of an Islamic character. Let us look at things objectively. It is high time we started living as Muslims and that includes being free to see the truth no matter how painful it might be. Lets not bring our emotions into such spiritual discourse rather see things objectively.

      We heard about this executive being given money by politicians etc.

    7. This time I start my writing with an adage which goes “Galu wamkota sakandira pachabe”.  In a couple of months ago I wrote an article titled ‘Who is to blame on our Low Representation in Government’  which was published by Malawimuslim website in which I argued unequivocally and without fear or favor that Muslims in other regions are being discriminated in one way or another. Today am happy to learn that my observation has been logically certified true by my fellow deprived brothers and sister from the northern region.I know some of you might wonder why am very much concerned with this issue? Well, my response is simple; first because am a Muslim and, second, am one of those few individuals who acquired basic Islamic knowledge from Karonga Main Mosque the then Karonga Islamic Centre in early 1990’s, (May Allah bless the soul of brother Ahmad Tambula who was my principle at the Centre) and beside that am a half citizen of Mzuzu City where I spend part of my childhood time with my parents.The brothers are very right in their argument that the northern region is viciously neglected by the MAM and other Islamic organizations who claim to be propagating and developing Islam in the country. Hopefully, you recall very well what I said in my last article that the northern region and central region are segregated by the fellow Muslims of other regions (South) and Islamic institutions. Just have a close look at how many Islamic schools and projects are situated in the southern region?; and on other hand how many of that kind are stationed in the central or north region? You know the answer!Another sad thing is that, as if this is not enough, almost all Chairpersons (Men or Women) representing Muslims in many parts of the central and Northern regions are people who originally come from southern region. I hope, in this case you don’t misunderstand me! All what am saying is for equality as the yardstick of how things are supposed to be.The Karonga Main Mosque was constructed long time ago by Sheikh Saad al-Talib. His vision was to construct a full Islamic boarding Madrasah but due to other unseen circumstances he did not reach his goal. After him, what did indigenous MAM do? Of course, he left the project site with full of standard molded bricks corrugated Iron-sheets and other building materials.           My question is where are these materials? Those holding MAM positions that time have an answer to this question. Don’t wander, I know what am talking about and I saw the items, remember I was a student of that place that time!Allah revealed the Holy Qur’an to the prophet (SAW) from among the Quraish of Makkah to guide the entire universe but again with a very specific characteristic well elaborated by Allah He said “There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful”. meaning he speak the same tong with them for easy disseminating of the message of Allah. People of Northern region mostly speak Tumbuka language, why then should we preach to them in a strange language to them which need transliterations?( I don’t mean Arabic here since Arabic is the root language of Islam) If MAM and other Islamic organizations really want to promote Deen in Malawi, let the Sons of the soil do the job and give them support. How to do that? Send them to school and Madrasah as we do with our fellow tribe people. After all who told you that Central’s and Northerner’s do not want higher Islamic and secular education as your children do? Remember the AMANA is going to be accounted on that day when no tong will be able to tell lies.Bravo Muslim brothers of Northern region for your concern! Hopefully your grievances will be looked upon with a good careful Islamic aye! Don’t lose hope Allah is there for you and those who promote equality.I conclude my writing by saying that we still do remember what happened in 1999 after the general election when Mosques were burned in Northern region. The former president gave Millions for the reconstruction of the affected Mosques, but what happened? Who squandered the money? Native Northern Muslims know nothing about this!

      This time I start my writing with an adage which goes “Galu wamkota sakandira pachabe”.  In a couple of months ago I wrote an article titled ‘Who is to blame on our Low Representation in Government’  which was published by Malawimuslim website in which I argued unequivocally and without fear or favor that Muslims in other regions are being discriminated in one way or another. Today am happy to learn that my observation has been logically certified true by my fellow deprived brothers and sister from the northern region.I know some of you might wonder why am very much concerned with this issue? Well, my response is simple; first because am a Muslim and, second, am one of those few individuals who acquired basic Islamic knowledge from Karonga Main Mosque the then Karonga Islamic Centre in early 1990’s, (May Allah bless the soul of brother Ahmad Tambula who was my principle at the Centre) and beside that am a half citizen of Mzuzu City where I spend part of my childhood time with my parents.The brothers are very right in their argument that the northern region is viciously neglected by the MAM and other Islamic organizations who claim to be propagating and developing Islam in the country. Hopefully, you recall very well what I said in my last article that the northern region and central region are segregated by the fellow Muslims of other regions (South) and Islamic institutions. Just have a close look at how many Islamic schools and projects are situated in the southern region?; and on other hand how many of that kind are stationed in the central or north region? You know the answer!Another sad thing is that, as if this is not enough, almost all Chairpersons (Men or Women) representing Muslims in many parts of the central and Northern regions are people who originally come from southern region. I hope, in this case you don’t misunderstand me! All what am saying is for equality as the yardstick of how things are supposed to be.The Karonga Main Mosque was constructed long time ago by Sheikh Saad al-Talib. His vision was to construct a full Islamic boarding Madrasah but due to other unseen circumstances he did not reach his goal. After him, what did indigenous MAM do? Of course, he left the project site with full of standard molded bricks corrugated Iron-sheets and other building materials.           My question is where are these materials? Those holding MAM positions that time have an answer to this question. Don’t wander, I know what am talking about and I saw the items, remember I was a student of that place that time!Allah revealed the Holy Qur’an to the prophet (SAW) from among the Quraish of Makkah to guide the entire universe but again with a very specific characteristic well elaborated by Allah He said “There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful”. meaning he speak the same tong with them for easy disseminating of the message of Allah. People of Northern region mostly speak Tumbuka language, why then should we preach to them in a strange language to them which need transliterations?( I don’t mean Arabic here since Arabic is the root language of Islam) If MAM and other Islamic organizations really want to promote Deen in Malawi, let the Sons of the soil do the job and give them support. How to do that? Send them to school and Madrasah as we do with our fellow tribe people. After all who told you that Central’s and Northerner’s do not want higher Islamic and secular education as your children do? Remember the AMANA is going to be accounted on that day when no tong will be able to tell lies.Bravo Muslim brothers of Northern region for your concern! Hopefully your grievances will be looked upon with a good careful Islamic aye! Don’t lose hope Allah is there for you and those who promote equality.I conclude my writing by saying that we still do remember what happened in 1999 after the general election when Mosques were burned in Northern region. The former president gave Millions for the reconstruction of the affected Mosques, but what happened? Who squandered the money? Native Northern Muslims know nothing about this!

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    8. What they are claiming might be true if they show their interest in having posts. MAM is a body that is elected democratically and the candidates from any tribe are allowed to take part. On this point, it is unfair that their is tribalism but people who are interested in having the posts might be Yaos. I ask the Muslim community of all tribes to take part in MAM elections so that this type of groundless claims can be avoided. On the other hand, MAM officials should pay their attention to all Muslims in the country regardless of their origin, tribe and culture. Islam is for everyone hence its benifits must be shared equally

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