The titular head of the Muslim community in Uganda, Prince Kassim Nakibinge, has criticised the Uganda Police Force for clamping down on Koranic schools.
“Police should stop hiding behind security to close our Madrasas [Koranic schools]. It is not the mandate of police to check on whether such teachings are the right syllabi,” Prince Nakibinge said in an interview with Daily Monitor at the weekend.
“When police arrested an MP on suspicion of aiding terrorism, the whole Parliament was not closed down,” he said.
The prince’s comments follow the closure of several Muslim schools commonly known as Madrasas that teach Arabic and other Islamic-related curricula.
Police argue that most of the pupils found in the Madrasas were being kept incommunicado from their community and being indoctrinated in the guise of teaching Islam. “I wonder whether Mr Fred Enanga [police spokesperson] has any knowledge regarding what Islam entails to start closing down our schools on the pretext that we are indoctrinating children,” said the prince.
Mr Enanga recently said they raided a home of Hajat Mariam Uthman in Mpoma, Mukono District to allegedly rescue nine trafficked children. He added that the following day, police rescued another 14 juveniles from the home of Hajj Abdul Rashid Mbaziira in Namawojjolo, Mukono District.
Madrasas are informal in setting and have been the source of islamic theological teaching since Islam was introduced in Uganda in the 19thCentury. A Madrasa can be set up at home, in a community hall or anywhere Muslims find space to teach islamic theology. They are equivalent to Sunday schools for the Christians.