We also have fake Muslim holy fathers who need to be dealt with by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, says Islamic Supreme Council of Zambia president Suzyo Zimba.
In an interview, Zimba said his association has been dealing with cases where people masquerading as Islamic religious prophets come into the country to fundraise and leave.
“There is need for serious regulation of church mother bodies and churches in general. Even us Muslims, someone comes like at some point there was a Muslim who claimed to be a holy father…there are Muslims who come with money in this country $50 thousand, $100 thousand dollars in their pockets, I have refused to receive such people, I have told them go back and send the money through the account. Why should we receive $50 thousand dollars cash? For what? So when the Minister says am coming for Muslims, its just a statement to say ‘as Muslims, you are also part of what we want to do as government. But we are saying that we are ready and we are ready to put all our cards on the table,” Zimba said.
“Yes there are things happening in the Muslim community that we are not happy with like for example! A person has no office but he invites people to come and visit them, they even bring in money! Is that the way we are supposed to manage the affairs? No! Like fundraising for example, when you go to Dubai! You need a permit from Home Affairs unlike the way it is here, a Muslim can come and fundraise, but where they are taking the money! We don’t know. It is sad. So we are not unique, we shouldn’t think that we are clean as Muslims no! We also have issues and when the Ministry says we will come for the Muslims, its time they will hear our side and how we should regulate the affairs of the Muslim. The reason why the government formed this body is to coordinate all Islamic affairs in Zambia and that means that we need to regulate properly, not just watching things.”
He said there was need for government to strictly monitor fund which prophets brought into the country to avoid terrorism.
“Like there is an issue of terrorism, terrorists are very good at fundraising, they can use a lot of channels. Bushiri comes in the country for example to fundraise the money and where is he taking the money when leaving the country? Is it in briefcases? So we want a system where money comes through the banks, money leaves through the banks. At least even the security wings should know what the Muslim community is doing in the country, what the Christians are doing? Its good for the country.We are not saying that we will be controlled like kids no! But we are saying ‘together! We can control the situation that needs to be controlled in our country,” said Zimba.
“A stronger society like the Muslim society which fears the law, which follows what is written in the constitution, then you have a stronger country. But all we are saying is that we have been weak in some areas like for example before the Immigration department gives a permit for someone to operate in the country! They need to get a recommendation letter from the council, we want it to be a serious thing because as it is now, there are lapses. The Ministry is there to guide.”
Zimba said his council was ready to cooperate with the Religious Ministry to bring sanity in religious matters.
“There are a lot of things in the Muslim community that we are not happy with, and we are happy that the Ministry wants to iron out those things. There has to be sanity in the country, its not just for us to be saying ‘no! There is freedom of association, freedom of worship’. Freedom of worship is not absolute freedom. We shouldn’t live like animals, you know animals can urinate anywhere and you have no control. That’s not the way we want to manage religious affairs, so when the Minister says we are coming, Minister please come we are ready so that together, we can have sanity in the Muslim community,” he said.
And Zimba advised Rev Sumaili to apply teachings of the Bible in dealing with fake prophets.
Recently, Rev Sumaili said her ministry would not spare Hindus or Muslims but go for them to find out “what they were doing in Zambia.”