Which is the most anti-Semitic country in Africa? — By Aisha Jaffe
Uganda’s current president, Yoweri Museveni, is often accused of racism and discrimination.
A majority of Ugandans oppose the country’s controversial law against “anti-Semitism” and, in February, Musevenjie signed a bill banning all religious symbols from public buildings and the streets of the country.
In January, the U.S. State Department said it would suspend a $1.8 million grant to Uganda, which is also home to about 2 million U.N. peacekeepers.
Museven’s government has responded to the criticism by saying it is trying to combat discrimination and prejudice in its society, especially against the countrys Muslim minority.
“The Ugandan government is committed to the implementation of the Law of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice and the promotion of equality and social justice in the country,” Museven said at the time.
Museves recent comments are consistent with his government’s policies toward Muslims.
According to the United Nations, Muslims make up about 12 percent of the population in Uganda, but they comprise about 80 percent of its prisoners, 82 percent of those arrested for crimes against humanity, and nearly 90 percent of all executions.
According the State Department, Uganda’s anti-Muslim legislation has also resulted in a sharp increase in hate crimes and killings of Muslim communities in the nation.
In August, the country reported the highest number of anti-Islamic hate crimes since 2008, according to the U of T’s Global Centre for the Study of Extremism, a non-governmental organization.
According a 2016 report by the World Bank, anti-Islam sentiment is growing in the world’s poorest nations, with some governments seeing an uptick in anti-Muslims acts.
“Anti-Muslim bigotry is a serious problem,” said the report.
“A number of governments have reported that they are seeing an increase in anti and anti-immigrant rhetoric, which often targets Muslims and Muslims in general, particularly in Africa.”
A spokesperson for Musevens government, James McPhee, declined to comment for this story.
But in a 2016 interview with a British newspaper, he said that his government was working to counter “the Islamophobia that exists” in the West.
“We are trying to show the West that we are committed to freedom and human rights, and that we will stand up for freedom and the right to worship freely,” he said.
In response to the State of the World Report, the British Human Rights Commission noted that Uganda’s law “appears to target Muslims in a discriminatory manner and discriminates against Muslim women and children, who are disproportionately victims of violence and discrimination.”
In a statement to CNN, the commission noted that the law is “designed to stigmatize and criminalize Muslims and to undermine the right of religious minorities to practice their religion in peace and safety.”
“We know that the laws that are being enacted in Uganda are discriminatory and that they threaten freedom of religion and freedom of speech,” said Maryam Bishara, executive director of the Commission on Human Rights in the United Kingdom.
“These laws may also undermine the ability of communities to have an open dialogue on issues of mutual concern.”
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