Uganda Muslim Martyrs Commemoration Set for June 10th

Uganda Muslim Martyrs Commemoration Set for June 10th

The annual commemoration of Muslim Martyrs in Uganda will now be held on June 10th, as announced by Professor Badru Ddungu Kateregga, chairperson of the Muslim Martyrs Mosque Development Committee.

The announcement was made during a press conference at Prof. Kateregga’s residence in Buziga. The change in date from June 1st to June 10th aims to avoid confusion with other martyrs' celebrations.

"Muslims were the first Ugandans to be martyred way back in 1874/75. However, they are little known. It has taken us 15 years to raise awareness about Muslim Martyrs because Muslims didn't write their history," Prof. Kateregga stated.

The commemoration will begin with prayers at the Shuhadah Mosque in Namugongo on June 8th, 2024. The event will culminate with a large gathering at the national mosque on June 10th.

Prof. Kateregga emphasized that this event aims to honor the memory of Muslim martyrs and promote religious tolerance.

"It is also advocacy for religious tolerance because some of our families have people of different religious persuasions," he explained.

Prof. Kateregga highlighted the importance of martyrdom in Islam, describing it as a revered form of death.

"By and large, Islam upholds martyrdom and holds martyrs in high esteem. Our goal is to preserve our heritage and promote religious tourism to meet both local and international standards," he said.

He also expressed gratitude to the government for supporting these efforts, noting that parliament recently allocated over Shillings 200 million for the Muslim Martyrs commemoration.

Haji Sulaiman Musana Kawunguzi, coordinator of the Muslim Martyrs Mosque Development Committee, mentioned that a development plan had been submitted to the Ministry of Finance, pending implementation.

Dr. Sheikh Ziyad Swaleh Lubanga, Director of Sharia at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC), provided historical context on Muslim martyrdom.

"Fourteen Muslims were killed during the Battle of Badr. At least 230 Muslim martyrs were recorded in the 23 years of the Prophet Muhammad's mission," he explained, citing the Quran 3:169, which honors those who die defending their faith.

Dr. Lubanga stressed the importance of documenting the stories of martyrs to ensure their legacy is remembered.

"Our task is to inform others about our martyrs, just like others have done in their countries. These people shouldn't be forgotten," he said, recalling a visit to the cemetery of Muslim martyrs in Madina with the Mufti in 2023.

The press conference was attended by UMSC Organising Committee members, including Hon. Arinda Abdu-Razaaq, Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Development, and Prince Ibrahim Kalema Kimera, descendant of the late King Nuhu Rashid Kalema of Buganda Kingdom.