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Government Clamps Down On Muslim Fundamentalism

Panafrican News Agency, 4 August 2000

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - The authorities in Tanzania have banned a book that details the 1998 massacre of four Muslim youths by police, in their latest clampdown yet on religious fundamentalism.

An order banning the book - Mwembechai Killings And The Political Future Of Tanzania - is contained in the official government gazette released Friday.

Signed by President Benjamin Mkapa, the order prohibits with immediate effect the sale or distribution of the book, which is yet to reach the Tanzanian book market.

The book is, however, being highly publicised on the Islam in Tanzania website, whose address is http://www.islamtz.org/index/html.

The advert reads: A new book that Tanzanian government authorities wish you never get a chance to read.

Its author, Hamza Mustafa Njozi, has recently been refused to bring into the country copies of the book, which he has published in Canada.

Readers are being encouraged to order the book directly from the publishers, the Globalink Communications in Ottawa, Ontario.

Njozi argues that the religious riots that rocked Mwembechai, a sprawling suburb in Dar Es Salaam in April 1998, was just one trade off between Muslims and the government.

The book provides unsettling details about religious discrimination in a country which is thought by many as setting a shining example to the rest of the world, a synopsis of the book reads.

The riots had been instigated by a violent confrontation between Muslim faithful and armed police that resulted into several deaths and arrests.

Muslim women who were held in remand after the riots complained of sexual molestation by the police while their male colleagues complained of torture and brutality at the hands of state security machinery.

Although the Muslim community demanded for a public enquiry and the criminalisation of their assailants, the government rejected their demands in a huff.

With the advent of democracy, Tanzanian Muslims, making about 35 percent of the nearly 31 million people, have always been critical of the government for allegedly having denied them a fair share of the national cake.

Mkapa's reassurance that the government would address their grievances has not pacified them.