A man has petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking orders to stop Muslims from calling God as Allah or God of Jesus and likening Islam to Christianity.
Mr Ivan Samuel Ssebadduka, who calls himself a monotheistic Christian, contends that although Muslims have a right to worship as envisaged in the Constitution, they have no right to interfere with other people’s religious beliefs by referring to their God as Allah or God of Jesus.
Monotheism is the belief that only one God exists.
“Your petitioner wants to move this honourable court to stop Muslims from likening their religion, God and Koran to Christianity, Yahweh and the Holy Bible respectively,” Mr Ssebadduka states in his petition dated October 4.
He added: “We Christians who believe in Yahweh Ela Shaddai, transliterated Jehovah God Almighty, want to stop Muslims from calling our ‘God’, the God of Jesus, Allah. It’s true we have one creator but that doesn’t mean our creator (of Christians) is called Allah.”
Mr Ssebadduka sued Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramadan Mubajje, Supreme Mufti Sheikh Silman Kasule Ndirangwa, members of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, members of the Uganda Da’awa Association and anyone who calls himself/herself a Muslim.
Further in his petition, Mr Ssebadduka avers that the God of Christians is called Yahweh Ela Shaddai, not Allah and that the God of everyone, the one they serve is not called Allah by name.
“We the Christians of this generation want to put things right once and for all. We want to clearly say that our God is Yahweh, not Allah as Muslims claim. Their claim is baseless and has no Biblical truth in it,” the petitioner contends.
He says Christians of his generation and ilk want to make a sharp distinction between Yahweh Ela Shaddai and Allah and between Jesus Christ of Nazareth and Isa.
He says Isa by all accounts never died, so he is not Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died and resurrected and the two cannot be compared.
Mr Ssebadduka quotes the Malaysia court, a country that he says is dominated by Muslims, to support his claim that Isa is not Jesus and Allah is not Yahweh.
“The honourable judges in Malaysia made history when they differentiated facts from fiction. Truthfully, Isa is not Jesus and Allah is not Yahweh. If they were the same, why would the judges in Malaysia differentiate them,” the petitioner contends.
“Today, Christians in Malaysia are not allowed to call their God, Allah. If the government of Malaysia petitioned the honourable court to make this ruling, why can’t Christians of this generation petition this honourable court to make the same ruling?” he added.
Jesus Christ was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity. Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the Messiah (saviour) who was prophesied in the Old Testament.
Muslims believe that Jesus (called “Isa” in Arabic) was a prophet of God, born to virgin Mary and will return to earth before the Day of Judgment to restore justice and to defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal (“the false messiah”), also known as Antichrist. They reject the version that Jesus is the Son of God.
In the petition, Mr Ssebadduka asks rhetoric religious questions: how can someone who died be equated to someone who never died and how can someone who begets be equated to someone who doesn’t beget?
When contacted, Hajj Ramadhan Mugalu, the secretary general of UMSC, said he had seen the petition but questioned Ssebadduka’s motive.
He said Islam has co-existed peacefully with Christianity for more than 14,00 years and wondered why the petitioner would bring up such dichotomy between the two religions now.
“I don’t think Islam has ever imposed their God on the God of Christians. We have tried to live in harmony. As UMSC, we respect one another and that respect is not a call to convert people to accept new religion,” Hajj Mugalu said on telephone last evening.
“What we try to tell people is that we are made of different religions, races and Islam has existed for 1,400 years and I have never seen anyone saying Allah is Yahweh or Jesus is Isa unless he has been given authority by God to sue on His behalf. We pray that he comes to reality that people exist together despite being of different regions and races,” Hajj Mugalu added.
He further stated that the religions we have in Uganda were brought by foreigners and if we take that route, the argument will get deeper.
Efforts to reach out to the Kibuli Muslim faithful were futile as Sheikh Nuhu Muzaata, the spokesperson, said he could only speak after dusk.
The court has given the respondents 10 days to file a response to the petition.