Prof Shyaka Anastase
Prof Shyaka Anastase

Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board (C) addresses the gathering as Dr Rajab Mugabo, president of the Network of Muslim Professionals (L), and Mufti of Rwanda, Ibrahim Kayitare(R ), look on. (Timothy Kisambira)

Prof Shyaka Anastase
Prof Shyaka Anastase

This was announced at a symposium of Muslim professionals in Kigali, yesterday.

The symposium was organised by Network of Muslim Professionals (NMP) to assess the transformation of the image of Islam in the country over the past 120 years and devise efforts to promote the group and national interests.

The group founded in 2013 said it had devised strategies to achieve Muslim unity and strengthen Islam in Rwanda.

?Our objective is advocacy for Muslim community, unity, promoting good governance, help initiate development projects in order to strengthen Islam,? said Dr Rajab Mugabo, president of the association.

He said capacity building, accountability, strategic planning as well as entrepreneurship training will be core in their efforts.

The group resolved to publish Rwanda Islamic history and expand Islamic activities up to community levels.
It was noted that many Rwandan Muslims have attained formal education in the last two decades.

Dr Saleh Niyonzima, a member of the Network of Muslim Professionals in Rwanda, said Muslims were alienated from socio-economic activities between 1894 and 1994.

He cited education, employment in government institutions, and land ownership among the things Muslims were discriminated against by the past regimes.

Dr Niyonzima said the status quo changed after 1994 when the current government started to include Muslims in governance and other national development programmes.

Citing a report of Fourth Population and Housing Census conducted in 2012 by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), Niyonzima said before the Genocide, university Muslim graduates were seven but after the liberation struggle, the number increased to more than 5,000.

?Muslims have also got back some of their properties like Intwari school that had been seized by the then authorities,? he said.

The report of Fourth Population and Housing Census also shows that Muslims are more than 211,011 which represents 2 per cent of the country?s total population.

It also shows that 44 per cent of the Muslims are employed with 21 per cent in service and sales.
Speaking at the meeting, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board commended the Muslims for coming together to achieve development.

?Conflicts affect development, so accountability and transparency without fingure-pointing will contribute toward national development,? Prof Shyaka told the Muslims.

By Michel Nkurunziza, The New Times

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