Shun radical teachings, Muslim youths told

Under a large tent at Pearl of Africa hotel in Kampala, Muslim youths from 26 African countires gathered to discuss the challenges affecting the growth of Islam in Africa, and the role Muslim youths can plan in the building of tomorrow’s Africa.

The Conference organised by Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and the International Muslim Communities Congress is intended to raise awareness on the role of youths in the development of the continent in the wake of challenges posed by the new communication age, radical and extremist teachings.

The conference is under the theme “Role of Muslim youths in the Africa of tomorrow; The dark arms in Building Africa of tomorrow.”

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Mufti of Uganda also Chairperson of the African Forum for Muslim Councils, Sheikh Shaban Mubaje emphasised the need for Muslims to cooperate, unite and reconcile and avoid radical thinking and actions that undermined the values of humanity, peace and reconciliation.

Mubaje also called on Muslims world over to live in harmony with people of other faiths, citing the case of Uganda where members of various religious groups unite under the Inter-religious council of Uganda (IRCU).

Dr Mohammed El-Bechar, the secretary general of the World Muslim Communities Congress (WMCC) called upon Muslims to embrace co-existence, mutual respect and Peace. He identified the need to develop a clear strategy that strides to fight and eliminate elements of radicalisation among youths.

The Director General of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates,  Dr Yusuf Al Obeidi urged the youths to spread messages of peace, peace treaties, enabling humanity, co-existance, reconciliation and realise mutual respect, cooperation and friendship.

“The UAE has adopted a moderation approach away from extremism and radicalism,” Al-Obeidi said.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda (i suit, back to camera) arrives for the conference

Representing President Yoweri Museveni, the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda called for deeper involvement of youths in peace building processes.

“This is the way to build a better future by making sure that young people are liberated from bad ideas, from extremist ideas so that they grow knowing that their duty is to serve God and contribute to development,” Rugunda said.

Representing the youths, Muhsin Nuwagaba Kaduyu, the director of Allied Muslim Youth Network said that redundancy is what pushes some youths into radicalisation.

He argued that youths need to be guided and given opportunity to compete favorably and excel, further calling for the prioritization of youths in the political and economic arena since youths form the highest percentage of the World’s population.

“It is time for us to stop looking at young people as problems, looking at young people as victims, for example, of radicalisation; it’s time to look at them as strong partners, ” said Kaduyu