KAMPALA – Eid Al Fitri prayers were held in mosques and open places across Uganda, for the first time in two years, under stringent safety measures to observe the Covid-19 Standard Operation Procedures – SOPs.
On the first day of Eid – which marks the beginning of the month of Shawwal; and end of a month –long dawn to sunset fasting – Muslims typically wake-up – head to their preferred choice of mosques or open spaces for Salat – and it was exactly what hundreds of thousands of believers in Uganda did.
Last year, mosques were closed as festivities to mark the end of Ramadhan approached – as one of the measures to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic but on Thursday, Muslims in their thousands, thronged worshipping places to start activities to celebrate Eid Day with prayers.
At the Gadhafi National Mosque – the seat of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council – UMSC, located at Old Kampala Hill – Mufti – Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje preached peace and unity amongst Ugandans – stressing that it was proper for the President (Museveni) to free political prisoners.
“Let them enjoy freedom with their families – especially during this (Eid) festive season – moreover some of them are Muslims, who would have loved to celebrate with their families,” said Sheikh Mubajje, who led the Eid sermon at Gadhafi Mosque – adding that the President himself, had during his speech at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds on Wednesday indicated that it was time for work because elections and politicking was over.
Mubajje also appealed to police to forgive boda boda cyclists who had been arrested or whose motorcycles were impounded during the heightened security measures to enforce curfew regulations.
At Masjid Musa located within the premises of Hotel Africana –Sheikh Umar Yusuf emphasized the need for believers to keep and strengthen strong ties with kinship – a feat that not only requires supporting one’s own family but relatives and neighbours; as well as the needy and sick.
“Right now, the proprietor of this place – (Dr Ibrahim Kibirige – fondly referred to as BMK) is not doing well and needs your prayers – so as a norm – pray or visit him,” announced the mullah during his sermon.
At Kibuli Mosque, Sheikh Mahmood Kibaate, the Ag Supreme Mufti for the Kibuli faction called President Museveni to prioritise security and protection of Ugandans and their property.
Sheikh Kibaate noted that in the President’s last term, a number of Ugandans had lost their lives to gun-wielding security operatives, conspicuously – LDUs.
“The new government’ should not be like the one whose term expired yesterday – because there were challenges, government failed to address,” he noted.
Prince Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu on his part, as he served selected Muskims the annual Eid meal at his residence – called on the authorities to ‘serve’ all Ugandans without discrimination.
“I have said it before; you can’t dictate how people should love you; neither can you dictate whom they should love – and despite such a situation – authorities should serve the people irrespective of their beliefs or inclinations,” preached the grandfather of Islam in Uganda, who also cautioned the UPDF against harassing journalists.