Minister for Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka has urged Muslims in Rwanda to read and understand well the contents of the Holy Qur’an.
He also advised them to shun those who misinterpret it with intentions to mislead others.
He made the remark on Sunday in a ceremony concluding the 8th International Qur’an Recitation Competition that took place at the Kigali Convention Centre.
The competition was organised by the Muslim community in Rwanda in collaboration with Haya Alkair, a Saudi Arabian Muslim organization.
Minister Shyaka said that the Qur’an teaches people to live in harmony, collaboration and unity.
He said that Muslims should continue striving to read it in search for a good message which will help them to avoid heretical teachings and beliefs.
“Learning and understanding the Qur’an for Muslims is an opportunity to learn and master its contents. Those who read it become the followers of the good message which also helps them to avoid heresy of those who read and do not understand or act contrary to its teachings by being insubordinate and tarnishing the image of Islam,” he said.
Shyaka said the fact that Islam stands for peace agrees well with Rwanda’s goal and that is why Islam’s hand is needed in building Rwanda.
“Islam means peace and for Rwanda as well, our greatest asset is peace and safety. So, being a Muslim in Rwanda should mean loving peace, giving it the value it deserves, striving for it and loving a beautiful country like Rwanda,” he noted.
The Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Salim Hitimana said that the Muslim community in Rwanda will continue to support the good leadership which enabled Muslims to regain their freedom after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
Sheikh Hitimana said that from the colonial era to the first and second Republic, Muslims had no freedom in Rwanda.
“Such an action reinforces the good leadership we have in our country which allows freedom in beliefs, without any discrimination. History shows that during the Belgian colonial era, there was declared a decree in 1924, to gather Muslims in what were called Swahili camps in order to discriminate against them,” he said.
Based on the freedom Islam got, Hitimana said that until April 1994 no Muslim in Rwanda had mastered the Qur’an, while more than 100 have mastered it after the liberation war across the country.
Meanwhile for this time, the grand finale of the 8th International Qur’an Recitation Competition attracted 51 contestants from 25 countries.