20 August 2012

Tanzania: Sheikhs, Leaders Tout Census

TANZANIANS on Sunday joined other Muslims all over the world to celebrate Idd El Fitr peacefully as political and religious leaders urged Muslims to participate fully in forthcoming population and housing census.

Addressing a gathering after Idd prayers held at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam, the Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, urged Muslims to participate fully in the census. He said that census was an important exercise in planning the country's development activities and has nothing to do with religion.

"I urge my fellow Muslims to participate in census because it's a very important thing in planning for development," he stressed. On his part, the President of Zanzibar, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, appealed to the people in Zanzibar to take part in the census.

He warned that his government would not spare anybody who was planning to sabotage the exercise.

Dr Shein reminded Zanzibaris and Muslims of the importance of census especially in development plans and programmes.

He was addressing Idd El Fitr Baraza at Bwawani Hotel in the Stone Town. President Shein also revealed that his government was expecting to buy a new modern passenger and cargo ship within the next 15 months.

"We expect to have enough funds to purchase the ship within the next few days. Therefore I am glad to inform you that we should have the ship within fifteen months," Dr Shein told the gathering. Idd El-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadhan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Dr Shein said that although Idd was time of joy, but it was important to remember those who died when Mv Skagit vessel capsized on July 18 this year. "It was a grisly accident which left a number of victims, helpless orphans, loss of property and grief to many," he said.

Dr Shein said his government was on right track in achieving development goals, as he reminded Zanzibaris of the importance of maintaining peace, stability and tolerance by observing laws and culture.

Several leaders including Seif Sharif Hamad (First Vice-President), Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi (Second Vice-President), Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho (Speaker of the Zanzibar House of Representatives), Judge Omar Othman Makungu (Chief Justice), Mr Amani Abeid Karume (Retired President), and officials from foreign embassies attended the Baraza.

In their message during national Idd Baraza held in Songea, the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA) reiterated its call that all Muslims should participate in the census for the nation's development.

Addressing Idd Baraza at national level in Ruvuma Region, Mufti Shaaban bin Simba said that Muslims should participate in development activities. He advised them to participate in the census and ignore calls by some people to boycott the exercise.

"If we want to know our (Muslims) population,it's not the task of the government, we can count ourselves in mosques," he said. He insisted that such census for Muslims should start immediately and the statistics should be preserved electronically.

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