Muslims to Reflect on Namugongo Martyrs

8602 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
As Christians flock Namugongo for the Uganda Martyrs Day on Sunday, Muslims in Uganda are also being urged to reflect on the over 70 Muslim converts who were killed in the 1870s on the orders of the then Kabaka Muteesa I.

As Christians flock Namugongo for the Uganda Martyrs Day on Sunday, Muslims in Uganda are also being urged to reflect on the over 70 Muslim converts who were killed in the 1870s on the orders of the then Kabaka Muteesa I.
 
This is part of the events to mark Uganda’s golden jubilee and also boost the tourism sector under the Presidential Initiative on Tourism (PIT).
 
Hajji Suleiman Musana Kawanguzi, the PIT coordinator at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, says they are emphasizing the history of the Muslim martyrs.
 
Between June 1885 and 1887, at least 25 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts were killed at Namugongo on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga, after they refused to renounce their new faith.
 
A decade earlier, however, Mwanga’s father, Mukaabya Muteesa I had ordered Muslim converts to also be killed for disobeying him.
 
Hajji Kawanguzi was among the Muslims who on Friday held prayers at Masjid Noor Namugongo Muslim Martyrs mosque in remembrance of at least 74 Muslims who were killed between 1874 and 1876.
 
This is being done through preaching in mosques and not heading to Namugongo for celebrations as other faiths do.
 
//Cue in: “Ours we are not saying we…”
 Cue out:…because of their deen.”//
 
President Yoweri Museveni invited all religious leaders from the Muslim, Anglican and Catholic faiths to mark 50 years of Uganda’s Independence. One of the initiatives was to recognize the Muslim brothers who were killed in Namugongo in order to improve the tourism sector in Uganda.
 
In the early 1850s Arabs led by Ahmed Bin Ibrahim and Sinai Bin Amri from Zanzibar entered Uganda and were received in Mengo by Kabaka Suuna II. They managed to convert the Kabaka Suuna then but he did not get circumcised as required in Sharia law.
 
The group then left and returned during the reign of Kabaka Mutesa I who also converted to Islam but also didn’t circumcise. Kabaka Mutesa is said to have declared Islam as the state faith and encouraged Islamic practices such as fasting and observing the five daily prayers.  
 
Hajji Kawanguzi narrates that with the arrival of new teams from Egypt; the Arabs insisted that the King who was the Chief Imam at the time had to get circumcised. They also refused to eat the meat from the king which annoyed him and he ordered for their killing.
 
 //Cue in: “Then one time a big number of…
 Cue out:…he ordered for their death.”//
 
The first converts to Islam in Buganda included Masanganzira, Matembe, Kalule, Nayisemuddu, Amran Tuzinde, Musa Bitamidde, Yusuf Sebakiwa, Mustapha Makongo , Buzinde, Adman Kiwanuka, Bukulu, Biira, Ssebatta, Suudi Gitta, Abdulazziz Maleku, Bamutalira, Kigwana, Juma Matembe, Kigwana and Abdullah Kadiri among others.
 
Among the Muslims who were martyred in Namugongo include, Mponyebuwonyi, Muddu, Biira, Bamutalira, Mukwanga, Kaganyulo, Bazzekuketa, Kalule, Nsereko, Kisengula, Mabende, Mukeka, Namwanira, Mafembe and Muwanga.

Masjid Noor Namugongo Mosque was built in 1979 on the orders of President Iddi Amin to remember those who were killed for their faith.