July 27, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has warned against the importation of radical Islam, saying he would not tolerate extremism in religion.
“We will not accept this thing, the importation of radical behaviours in the name of religion. And it must be made clear now so that you preach this in prayers. Religion is a personal relation between the person and the God and cannot therefore be used to cause security concerns and endanger the lives of other people as we see it in other countries, Kiir told Muslim clerics on Thursday at an annual dinner at the Freedom Hall in Juba.
However, the president also used his address to promote peaceful coexistence, directing the return of lands belonging to Muslim communities in the country and the building of more mosques and schools for the teaching Islam and the Quran.
Kiir also announced the donation of $200,000 to enable South Sudanese Muslims to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
“I want assure you that these things will be returned. All the properties, the lands and other facilities which belong to the Muslim communities must be returned,” he said, citing land at Juba market, Konyokonyo, Suksita and the Samba football grounds.
Kiir also condemned the unlawful appropriation of Christian lands of which the government had granted churches ownership by title deed, accusing those responsible of stealing God’s properties.
“This culture of taking what does not belong to you is becoming a phenomenon that some people see as a good practice,” he said.
“Now they have extended to the churches. They are now grabbing lands that have been given to the churches. They are not ashamed. So the government will have to come in to ensure that these properties are returned,” he added.
During his address Kiir said the minister of education would work together with the Islamic council to ensure that Islamic schools are built so that children can lean the Quran.
The secretary-general of the Muslim community in the country, Atahir Bior, commended the president for ordering the return of Muslim properties and the building of more Islamic schools.