Muslim leaders and scholars from Eastern and Southern Africa re-affirm declaration against Violent Extremism in the region

May 17, 2017

Sheik Mohammed Nur Abdullah – Chairman of Ibn Sereen Institute, Former President of ISNA (centre) together with Imrana Abdallah of IIPC (left) and Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, the Mufti of Uganda at the Summit on Countering, Responding and Preventing Violent Extremism in Africa. The summit for Muslim religious leaders and scholars was held in Kampala, Uganda. (Photo credit: UNDP Uganda 2017).

The declaration follows a similar one signed by religious leaders in West Africa against all forms of extremist activities in the name of Islam

Kampala, Uganda: African Muslim religious leaders and scholars from Eastern and Southern Africa gathered in Kampala have agreed on a framework to enable them work together to fight against all forms of extremist activities in the name of Islam.

The framework was agreed upon during a two day summit on countering, responding and preventing violent extremism in Africa which was organised by International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Regional Service Centre for Africa.

The summit was intended to respond to one of the most challenging problems in recent history - violent extremism.  A problem that Ms. Rosa Malango, UNDP’s Resident Representative for Uganda and UN’s Resident Coordinator said is currently contributing to a historical reversal of the continent’s development gains.

“If it is not addressed today, it threatens to curtail Africa’s development prospects for decades to come,” she emphasized.

Ms. Malango also emphasized the need for Muslim religious leaders to get involved saying that fighting against violent extremism was a collective responsibility.

“The fact that violent extremism has been affecting Muslims and Muslim communities most, highlights the need for the engagement of Muslim religious leaders if we are to help communities that are vulnerable to the activities and operations of violent extremist groups. Communities need to be empowered to be a vital part of the solution to the growth of violent extremism, and to this end your leadership as religious leaders is imperative,” she said at the opening of the summit.

Agreeing with her, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, the Mufti of Uganda said that it was the responsibility of Muslims to stand up and education the people about its Islam and the fact that it does not promote violent extremism.

 “Terrorism is the epitome of injustice because it takes innocent lives and the Koran calls all Muslims to act justly. Acts of terrorism are therefore haram, forbidden in Islam,” Sheikh Mubajje said.

As part of its support to prevent violent extremism on the continent, UNDP produced a regional strategy on “Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in Africa.”

The strategy emphasises a developmental approach which is underpinned by a policy framework that calls for individuals and institutions to be consistently engaged so that they understand what drives and enables violent extremism in Africa. The strategy is being implement through a programme in different countries which as classified as follows;

  • “Epicentre”-countries (Nigeria, Mali, Somalia and Libya) where extremist groups are active;
  • “Spill-over” countries where impacts are being felt (Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia) and;
  • “At risk” countries which exhibit some of the underlying and root causes of violent extremism (CAR, Sudan, Tanzania, Senegal, Morocco and Uganda). 

The UNDP Country office in Uganda is also working with the Government of Uganda to develop a national Preventing Violent Extremism strategy. In addition, it’s also involved in regional consultations led by IGAD to develop a regional PVE strategy for Eastern Africa.

In his opening remarks at the summit, Hon. Kirunda Kivenjinja, the third deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Affairs reiterated the Government of Uganda’s commitment to fighting violent extremism.

“We remain firm in our stand on terrorism,” Hon. Kivenjinja said adding that the government’s main efforts were geared towards promoting peace through engagement with various leaders and communities with Uganda and the region.

“It’s for this reason that I am pleased to see this summit engaging regional Muslim leaders and scholars as partners and advocates against violent extremism,” Hon. Kivejinja said.

At the end of the two-day summit, the Muslim leaders and scholars affirmed the Abuja Declaration Abuja declaration of October 2016 which was issued by religious leaders from West Africa, against all forms of extremist activities in the name of Islam, while affirming the preservation, promotion, and development of the sanctity and dignity of life for all individuals, families and communities.

Contact information

For more information, please contact:

Doreen Kansiime, UNDP Uganda, Tel. 0772289128 Email address: doreen.kansiime@undp.org, Twitter @D_Kansiime

www.iipcnet.org | email: info@iipcnet.org | +1.703.467.0910 | 560 Herndon Pkwy, # 212, Herndon, VA 20170 USA.

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