By Farooq Kasule
It was al joy as Prince Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu hosted US ambassador to Uganda Natalie Brown to a sumptuous iftar feast at his residence in Kibuli, Kampala on Saturday (March 25).
Iftar is a meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during the holy month of Ramadhan to break their fast.
A few minutes to 7:00pm, Brown, in the company of several embassy staff, arrived at Nakibinge’s residence, where they were joined by a selected number of high-profile Muslim businessmen and entrepreneurs in the country.
They included Sheikh Muhammad Shaban Galabuzi, Aga Sekalala, Kin Kariisa, Hajj Badru Muwanga, Dr Amina Zawedde, the permanent secretary in the ICT ministry and Buganda kingdom deputy premier Hajj Twaha Kawase.
In his speech, Nakibinge applauded Brown for strengthening the relationship between the embassy and the Muslim community.
“We want to thank you very much and the embassy that you have risen above portraying Islam negatively and looking at us (Muslims) as warmongers which is not the case. I want to thank you and the American people and the embassy for having run away from that stereotype and coming out to know the true face of Islam and Muslims. We pray that all those who come after you pick from this stage and we make the world a better place,” Nakibinge said.
Nakibinge, also the titular head of Muslims in Uganda, underscored the importance of unity in diversity saying, “I don’t see why we don’t focus on what brings us together but focus on negativity. We want to assure you that Islam is all about peace and that’s why we say all over we are while greeting that Asalam alaikum”.
Citing her involvement in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Nakibinge also lauded Brown for a job well done.
“We have been together in building bridges in seeing how best this world can be a better place. We are very happy that during your tenure you have walked the talk. I have seen you in different places in the country trying to awaken people to try to live up to the ideology of making this world a better place,” Nakibinge said.
Explaining the decision to host Brown, Nakibinge said, “I could have picked a phone and we talk because we normally talk on the phone but I thought that it is only fair and prudent that we say it loud and clear amongst friends and colleagues that you have been very good to the people of Uganda and the Muslim community and my family at large.”
Nakibinge noted that the American and the Muslim community have had a longstanding tie dating 60 years back.
“As the Muslim community in Uganda, we have a long history of about 60 years and when you first visited me you saw a picture of one of my forefathers with American former President Franklin Roosevelt. We thank the American people because they helped us as the Muslim community in setting up the infrastructure in the education sector. Personally, I went to American colleges so you have nurtured us as brothers and sisters and we shall always cherish this,” Nakibinge noted.
Commenting on Ramadhan, Nakibinge said it is all about spiritual rejuvenation, internal reflection and praying to Allah for guidance and good life.
“We are here to honour the month of Ramadhan but equally to you (Brown) for a good relationship since you came into the country. We have discussed a number of issues from different perspectives, international politics, development, and the scourge among others. We don’t know when you are going but we shall always cherish you,” Nakibinge said.
Brown said there is a need to focus on what people have in common rather than what divides them.
“Throughout my career, I have been privileged to serve in a number of countries where I would join the communities to celebrate Ramadhan and it is always nice to come together and talk about the things that unite us and things we have in common,” Brown said.