Final Communiqué Issued by the Symposium on Islamic Culture in East Africa Organized by Muslim World League In cooperation with the Foundation of sheiks and Islamic Scholars of Tanzania under the patronage of His Excellency the president of Tanzania Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
Darussalam - 29/051435 H – 29/04/2013
Praise be to Allah Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessing upon His Trustworthy Apostle Mohammad Ibn Abdullah, and his womenfolk and all his companions.
With God’s help, the Muslim World League has concluded the symposium “Islamic Culture in East Africa” jointly organized by the Foundation of Muslim Scholars and Elders of Tanzania. The symposium was held on Wednesday 29/05/1434 H/April 10,2013 in Darussalam, under the patronage of His Excellency the president of Tanzania Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
A number of scholars, university professors, heads of Islamic institutions and Islamic centers and experts in Islamic cultural affairs in East Africa.
At the opening of the symposium, His Excellency the Tanzanian President addressed the participants and praised the organizers for the favorable selection of the topics. He also highlighted the Muslim World League’s interest to the promote the culture of Islam and its efforts to introduce the youth to the purposes of Islam by connecting them to its principles that are based on moderation.
His Excellency the Secretary General of the MWL Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulmohsin Al-Turki delivered a speech in which he highlighted the objective of the symposium to spread Islamic culture in East Africa. He emphasized the Islamic Civilizational and historical contributions in the African continent. He lauded the efforts being exerted in East African countries in support of Islamic culture. He also praised the diligent work being made to solves the problems facing the people.
His Eminence Sheikh Dr. Ali Hassan Mwinyi the patron of the Foundation of Muslim Scholars and Elders of Tanzania stressed the significance of cooperation between the Muslim World League and Islamic institutions in Tanzania and other East African countries. He further highlighted the efforts of the Rabita’s offices and its affiliated centers and foundations in the region in promoting the culture of Islam.
The participants discussed the symposium’s topics through three themes:
- Identity problems in East Africa
- The reality of Islamic culture in East Africa and the challenges.
- Cultural invasion
They discussed problems facing Muslims and the challenges surrounding Islamic culture. They touched on the difficulties of Islamic education and the spreading of Arabic language. They talked about possible remedies to protect Islamic culture and its propagation in East African countries.
The participants praised East Africa’s Muslims for their efforts to regain their cultural status after independence. They lauded their endeavors in disseminating the culture of Islam through their institutions and establishing educational institutions and studies and research centers.
Recommendations of the Symposium
- Identity problems in East Africa
The symposium’s participants reviewed the problems facing Islamic culture in East Africa that has impacted Muslims’ identity. Most notably, the colonial legacy has plunged the region into the darkness of underdevelopment, poverty and chaos. This has facilitated the infiltration of innovation, superstition, sorcery and witchcraft to some of its communities. In addition, the globalization cultural movement that has permeated society has further weakened local cultures, including that of Islam.
They call on those concerned to:
- Link and connect the present of East Africa’s Muslims with their Islamic civilization through the efforts of its leading scholars and triumphant preachers. They invite universities and Islamic Da’wah and cultural institutions to highlight the history of Islam in the region and the impact of its culture in the civilization of its people.
- Ministries of Culture, Information and Education are requested to give attention and care to Islamic history in the region. They should instill a sense of pride in Islam and steer the generations to adhere to its principles and values.
- Governments and Islamic organizations in East African countries must address the risks of cultural globalization currents and trends that threaten the cultural identity of Muslims and people of Africa in general
- Cooperation between Supreme Councils of Islamic Affairs in East African countries and the Muslim World League is of crucial importance. This will come in a shape of organizing conferences, symposia and regional activities. Such pursuits will certainly help in spreading the true concepts of Islam among Muslims. Furthermore, others will have the opportunity to know Islam’s principles of tolerance, equality, justice and coexistence.
- They urge the Muslim World league, Al-Azhar, the Islamic International Council of Da’wah and Relief and World Assembly of Muslim Youth to cooperate with Islamic Foundations in East African nations to train qualified preachers and teachers, and to publish Islamic books. Libraries should be supported by taking care of cultural heritage.
- They call on East African governments to establish National Dialogue Bodies. These will deal with ethnical problems, tribal conflicts and sectarianism. Because assimilation plotters exploit these issues to distract Muslims away from the principles of their religion and sow the seeds of disunity.
- In order to thwart the challenges facing Muslim identity; to protect Muslim youths from being overwhelmed by currents of westernization and globalization, great care should be given to Islamic multimedia.
- The reality of Islamic culture in East Africa and the challenges
The participants discussed the Islamic cultural movement in East Africa. They underlined its importance to perform its duty in immunizing Muslim youths from the onslaught of global media floodgates and its impact on their identity.
- All East African governments in Muslim countries must support Islamic culture and education. They ask them to link and connect people together. They urge to make positive changes, and cooperate to deal with their problems.
- They invite the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Muslim World League (MWL) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to support the endeavors of the region’s governments to set up more universities, institutes and schools. They ask them to support women’s education. They encourage them to open specialized schools for boys and girls in rural areas. They request them to establish women’s associations and committees to implement cultural and educational programs.
- Scholars should promote the Islamic culture of equality and brotherhood (Indeed believers are brothers). They should rise above racism and fanaticism (Your God is one; your father is one; there no distinction between an Arab and a non-Arab; or a non-Arab over an Arab; no red is superior to black; no black is superior to red, except by piety).
- They call on Islamic universities and Arabic language academies to take part in propagating the Arabic the language of the holy Qur’an among Muslims. They should cooperate with Islamic institutions and Arabic language institutes in Africa.
- They invite the Federation of Islamic universities to more cooperation and coordination with universities in African countries. They request them to take care of outstanding students and grant them scholarships to enroll in Islamic countries’ universities.
- They call for setting up of a committee from the MWL and Tanzanian Islamic Foundations to look into the needs of Da’wah organizations in East Africa. To make extra efforts to fulfill these needs with the support of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
- Cultural invasion and alienation of civilization
The participants expressed their fear that Islamic foundations in some of the region’s countries will fall prey to the growing external cultural influence. They link this situation to the missionary institutions who take advantage of poor and illiterate individuals and the ravage of famine to dissuade Muslims to change their religion.
In light of this, they call to the following:
- The Muslim World League should take action to enhance the programs of its offices and affiliated centers. This will be done through coordination efforts with others Islamic organizations. Together, they should follow the implementation of practical, cultural or charitable projects.
- They call on the MWL’s International Organization for the Memorization of the Holy Qur’an to expand its activities. Its work should be supported because it’s the portal that connects the Muslims in the region to the Book of Allah and Islamic Shari‘ a and culture. It’s the shield protecting generations from the hazard of alien cultures and deviant ideas.
- All must come together to confront the unbridled external media deluge which promotes anti cultures. This could be achieved only through mobilizing society led by Islamic associations, scholars and preachers with the help of Islamic universities and colleges.
- Text books should be reviewed and cleared of anything contrary to Islam and its culture. Ministries of education in the region should cooperate with the Supreme Councils of Islamic Affairs, universities and colleges on this issue.
- They call on all people to promote the moderation of Islam and its concepts. These unite precepts unite Muslims and protect their progeny from extremism, delinquency and disrespect of religion.
At the end of the symposium, the participants expressed their appreciation to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their support of East Africa’s Muslims and their problems. They thank the United Republic of Tanzania for hosting the symposium. A cable of thanks was sent to the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud for his service to Islam and Muslims. Another cable was sent to His Excellency the Tanzanian President Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete for his patronage of the symposium. They Thank the Secretary General of the Muslim World League His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulmohsin al-Turki. They thank everyone who has contributed to the success of the symposium.
They beseeched Allah for success and guidance.
Peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad, his womenfolk and all his companions.