Over Myths About Quran
Violent clashes erupted in Dar es Salaam’s Mbagala suburb yesterday when scores of Muslim youth stormed a police station and demanded that a 14-year-old boy accused of urinating on the Quran be handed over to them.
In the aftermath of the confrontation, at least five churches were attacked, several car windows smashed and passersby injured as the angry mob moved from street to street at Mbagala Kizuiani protesting the desecration of the holy book.
Dar es Salaam Chief Sheikh Alhad Mussa Salum urged Muslims not to pursue the issue out of proportion, adding that there wasn’t ample grounds to mess up national security.
“The incident doesn’t need emotions in dealing with. Islam means peace; we can deal with such issues peacefully. This matter involved children. Islam considers age; it shouldn’t lead to a breach of peace in our country,” said Sheikh Salum.
He added that attacking churches would mean the boy was sent by Christians to desecrate the Quran, which he said he believed wasn’t the case.Police used teargas canisters and water cannons to quell the unrest and open up Kilwa road as the protesters hurled stones and burned tyres to block the road. Police were still engaging the demonstrators at Mbagala Zakhem late in the evening as the attacks on churches continued to rage.
A source told The Citizen on Saturday that the origins of the clashes could be traced back five days to an incident in which a Christian and Muslim boy got into an argument over the power of the Quran to turn anyone who defiled it into a snake.
According to those reports, the Christian boy swore he would not be harmed if he played with the Quran while his Muslim friend maintained that he would turn into a snake or run mad if did so.
The Christian boy then urinated on the book—and set off a chain of events that would turn the area into a battleground for what the Muslims described as a defence of their faith.
The protesting group initially arrested the boy at around 9am on Monday and took him to a police station. The incident turned deadly after the angry Muslims mobilised more support during Friday prayers, reportedly in an attempt to grab the boy from the police station and behead him.
Temeke Regional Police Commander David Misime described the situation on the ground as “not well” as the police were still engaging with protestors as at 7pm. “There was relative calm in the evening,” our reporter on the scene said late yesterday. “But I have just started hearing explosions on the Zakhem side now.”
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Editor's Note: Cross the "religion of peace" and you get the horns of "the Beast."
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