SHAFAQNA – The three questions that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayuhura wants to be answered when he gets a chance to interface with the Uganda Moslem Supreme Council leaders, have rubbed Muslim students badly. Outlining his inquest into the madarassa, Kayihura said that key questions he wants to be answered include; under what criteria do the madarassa operate? Who runs them? And what do they teach our children?
But yesterday, students under their umbrella body, the Muslim Student’s Association of Uganda, gathered at Makerere University Mosque to protest police’s latest interest in the operation of madarassa schools.
“End the stigma. I slam means peace. We want fairness. We are not terrorists. Don’t close Madarassa schools,” they chanted as they moved around the mosque’s compound.
Students walk past policemen on security deployment around Makerere University, April1, 2015. Photo/Kennedy Oryema
Leading the troops was the chairperson of the association, Suudi Bamutya, who among other things stressed that regulating the operation of the madarassa schools lies in the hands of the Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible police’s insinuation that madarassa are terrorist cells. These are Quran teaching schools, where we all passed, and of course we are not terrorists. Polcie doesn’t set standards for schools, it is the Ministry of Education,” Bamutya said.
However, Haruna Isabirye, the Kampala Metropolitan police commander in a brief interaction with the students decried their level of ignorance, arguing that they have grossly misinterpreted police’s inroad into the madarassa matter.
“I am happy that you are peaceful. But you are ignorant and you have misinterpreted police’s role. You are not informed and updated at all. It is not a policy of police to close down madarassa schools, and it is not our policy to witch-hunt the Muslim community. Police has also not said that Muslims are terrorists,” he said.
Isabirye said that police is not “deliberately” targeting madarassa schools but intelligence information has opened the madarassa doors for police.
“Clean your house. Guns have been found in these schools. If you want to hide under religion to commit crime, you will be prosecuted. The position of the Uganda police is that not all Muslims are terrorists,” he said.
Of recent, police has rescued several children that have been clandestinely recruited using the guise of madarassa for other missions.
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