Ukunda parish lay leaders group learning about Islam thanks to Sheikh Hamisi Mpemba

Ukunda parish lay leaders group with Sheikh Hamisi and IRD Staff

The workshop started in the early morning of 04/05/19 at St. Francis of Assisi Ukunda Catholic Parish, where about 30 participants from different small Christian communities, the IRD staff and Sheikh Hamisi were gathered. We opened with a word of prayer after which Sheikh Hamisi was introduced. For more then a decade Sheikh Hamisi has been an active member of Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC) and currently remains the assistant chair of CICC Kwale county.

Sheikh Hamisi started by explaining to the participants the meaning of Islam, who is a Muslim and some of the stereotypes on Islamic religion.

Sheikh Hamisi during the session

He explained important personalities in Islam like Ismael the son of Abraham, the differences between Sunnis and Shiites.

Part of workshop methodology of the day was to divide the participants into focused discussion groups to prepare a list of 4 questions to be answered by Sheikh Hamisi during question/answer session.

The main areas of questions were:

  • The figure of Mary in Islam
  • Islam laws on slaughtering of animals
  • The dressing tradition/habits/codes among the Muslims
  • Islamic funeral rites
  • Mixed marriages 
  • Toilet rules and regulations
  • The use of the word “Kafiri”
  • Some of the similarities/differences between Islam and Christianity
  • The separation of women and men in the mosque during prayer
Some of the questions and answers

IRD Team wishes to sincerely thank and appreciate Sheikh Hamisi for his openness, kindness and availability to train the group and answers some of the sensitive questions on Islam.

This has been a real successful workshop, a great occasion of learning about Islamic religion as a means of achieving mutual understanding and growth for both the Catholic believers and Muslims.

Sheikh Hamisi with IRD team and the group leaders

Chiara Gallarini

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