Cablegate: Muslim Outreach in Mozambique
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 001026
DEPT FOR AF/PD
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL EAID KDEM PHUM PGOV OEXC OPRC OIIP MZ KISL
SUBJECT: MUSLIM OUTREACH IN MOZAMBIQUE
1. (SBU) Summary: Post is cognizant of the religious diversity in
Mozambique and has taken efforts to include representatives from
various religious groups, including Muslims, in its outreach
efforts. Given the current demographics of Mozambique and recent
world events, post is expanding these efforts. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Mozambique's rapidly growing Muslim population is
generally moderate and well integrated into broader Mozambican
society. Approximately 20 percent of Mozambicans who profess a
recognized religion are Muslim24 percent are Roman Catholic, 22
percent are Protestant, and. However, many Muslim clerics
disagree with this statistic, claiming that Islam is the
country's majority religion. The northern provinces and the
coastal strip are the most strongly Muslim areas of the country.
Most members of Mozambique's Indian community are Muslim, though
they tend to remain separate from the larger black Islamic
community. In northern cities such as Pemba and Nampula, the
Indian and Pakistani communities control much of the local
commerce. Religious groups, including Muslim groups, operate in
Mozambique without impediment, and religious freedom is
guaranteed under the Constitution. Muslim missionaries from
South Africa and the Kuwaiti-based Africa Muslim Agency have
established Islamic schools ("madrassas") in many cities and
towns in the northern provinces and the capital Maputo. In early
2003, the Islamic Community completed construction of a Grand
Mosque in downtown Maputo. A large number of small mosques have
recently been constructed with external financing in the northern
province of Nampula.
3. (SBU) The Government of Mozambique does not favor a particular
religion, nor is there a state or dominant religion. Though the
law governing political parties specifically forbids religious
parties from organizing and any party from sponsoring religious
propaganda, the Independent Party of Mozambique (PIMO), a
predominantly Muslim group without representation in Parliament,
has taken positions based on religious principles, advocated
moral behavior, and criticized the government for corruption.
The Government has thus far tolerated PIMO's activities, and PIMO
remains a minor political party. There have been several
efforts recently to unify the often divided Islamic community in
Mozambique. In September 2003, a national meeting of Muslims was
held in the central provincial capital of Beira, with the aim of
encouraging local Muslims to become more involved in health and
education in remote areas of the country.
RECENT AND ONGOING EFFORTS BY POST
4. (SBU) a) In 2002, post established an American Corner at
Mussa Bin Bique University, an Islamic university located in
Nampula. In the past year, the Ambassador has spoken at the
University, and Public Affairs is planning on using much of its
library allotment for FY 2004 on acquiring additional materials
to strengthen the outreach efforts of this American Corner.
b) In the past, post has sent prominent Muslim leaders on
International Visitor (IV) programs. These have included Jose
Abudo, current Minister of Justice, and David Cassimo, a leading
theologian, Imam and member of Conselho dos Alimos de Mocambique.
This year, post has already nominated Suleimane Amuji, the
prominent Muslim mayor of Vilankulos, to participate in a
Democratic Governance and Civic Participation IV program.
Amuji's nomination is part of a larger USAID initiative to work
with key municipal leaders elected in 2003. Post also intends to
nominate participants for the Leadership and Muslim Community IV
c) In the past year, the Ambassador has launched a Mission
Speakers Initiative to send teams of Mission personnel to speak
at local high schools. The Mission intends to expand this
program to include speaking at religious-affiliated high schools,
including Muslim high schools.
d) Additionally, as part of its PEPFAR plan, the Mission is
working with the Aga Kahn Foundation to assess available HIV-
related services and develop a 5-year operational plan for an
HIV/AIDS program in Cabo Delgado, a predominantly Muslim
province, linked with a new USG-supported anti-retroviral therapy
e) The USAID Food Security programs focus is on helping rural
Mozambicans learn and develop the knowledge, skills and
technology they need to produce more food, increase their
household incomes and reduce malnutrition among their children.
These programs operate in the Northern provinces of Nampula,
Zambezia, Sofala and Manica, where they reach communities with
arge Muslim populations.
f) The Mission will also be designating a Religious Affairs
Officer whose portfolio will include strategic outreach
initiatives and increased dialogue with key members of
Mozambique's Muslim community.