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Cablegate: Reaching Out to Northern Mozambique's Muslim

VZCZCXRO1145
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #1301 3120821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080821Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8173
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0073

UNCLAS MAPUTO 001301

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KISL PHUM EAID MZ
SUBJECT: REACHING OUT TO NORTHERN MOZAMBIQUE'S MUSLIM
COMMUNITY

1. During a recent visit to Nampula, Mozambique's most
populous province, the Charge hosted a meeting with
eight Muslim leaders representing key Muslim groupings
in the province: the Islamic Council of Mozambique, one
of the most representative Muslim organizations in the
country with more than three thousand affiliated
mosques, 600 madrassas and three secondary schools in
Nampula province alone; the Comunidade Muculmana, an
influential Muslim grouping with the highest number of
black Muslims; the Shia community, a smaller group but
economically powerful; and the NGO AJIDE (Association
of Islamic Youth), an organization that runs orphanages
in some locations of Nampula province.

2. Participants echoed concerns raised by Muslim
leadership in Maputo that they are discriminated
against for government and donor funding and in media
coverage, pointing to a recent initiative by Muslims in
Nampula to donate blood to local hospitals that
received almost no publicity, while a similar
initiative by non-Muslims was widely publicized.
Similarly, efforts to partner with the GRM's Cashew
Institute to distribute young cashew nut plants to
madrassas, they complained, were not successful.
Participants emphasized that they did not favor the
use of violence to advance a religious agenda, and
that only moral values and adoration--not
terrorism--were taught at Nampula madrassas.

3. The Charge asked for their views of the U.S.
Government. One participant said that American
foreign policy had always been characterized by
diplomacy and good deeds but that the trend had
reversed in recent years, while another participant
called on the USG to change its policies. One
representative stated that Muslims feel pain because
of some elements of America's foreign policy, but
that a distinction should be made between the USG
and the American people. The Charge, noting that
friends can disagree on certain issues, highlighted
U.S. diplomatic efforts to bring peace to
the Middle East and the increase in USG foreign
assistance, especially in Africa. Asked about how
America viewed Arab countries, the Charge explained
that the U.S. had good relations with most Arab
countries though a few countries in the region remained
problematic. In conclusion, the Muslim leaders agreed
with the Charge that our relationship should not be
defined by extremists.

4. Comment: The Muslim leaders appreciated the
Embassy's initiative to meet with them and to discuss
a wide range of issues. The leaders invited further
cooperation on initiatives of common interest,
including HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. The leader of
the Islamic Council also offered the use of its new
radio station to reach all the Muslims in the north
with AIDS prevention messages. We intend to do so.
We were warmly received and encouraged to return to
further the U.S. Embassy's relationship with the
Muslim community in Northern Mozambique. End Comment.
Chapman

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