A Christian Ramadan & A Muslim Easter

Christians & Muslims at Kijana Kwanza celebrate Easter and Ramadan in unity.


One of the most refreshing experiences as a foreigner in Tanzania, is to witness the deep solidarity between its Christian and Muslim citizens.

And this is no more evident this year than on Good Friday, which coincides with Ramadan.

As Christians prepare to commemorate the crucifixion of Christ and celebrate the promise of resurrection and absolution, so too are Muslims preparing for the start of the last 10 days of Ramadan and Laylat al-Qadr, the night on which the Qur’an was revealed.

Tomorrow, BOTH our Christian and Muslim students will fast between dawn and sunset, rising for the pre-fast meal (known as daku in Swahili) and sitting down in the evening for the fast-breaking meal (known as iftari in Swahili). In keeping with Christian sensitivities, no meat will be served at either meal.

This interfaith unity is emblematic of our ethos and values at Kijana Kwanza. For too long international aid in the African continent has been tainted by ulterior missionary purposes, so distant from the principles of both faiths.

Christians believe that Christ died for all of humanity’s salvation, whilst Muslims consider the Prophet Muhammad to be, as the Qur’an stipulates, a mercy to the worlds, without distinction of creed.

Most Tanzanians understand that despite our different belief systems, there is no place for discrimination. For many of us, of different lands and cultures, there is a lesson for us.

At Kijana Kwanza, each tradition is offered a place to pray and we celebrate all religious festivals together in unity. As young Muslims are encouraged to attend Friday prayers (by their Christian teachers), so too are young Christians encouraged to attend church (by their Muslim teachers).

What does this mean for the future of Tanzania? 

I am confident, that if conflict were to break out between followers of the two faiths, my Muslim children would defend their Christian brothers and sisters, and my Christian children would defend their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Not everyone will agree with our approach. We live in a highly fractured world.

But in a small way, when you support Kijana Kwanza, you contribute toward the development of a community that represents our best hope for humanity (apart from Lukumani and Jordan, who really need to learn some manners!).

On behalf of all of us at Kijana Kwanza, we wish our Christian friends a Happy Easter, and our Muslim friends a blessed end of Ramadan.

Mohammed S Mamdani
UK Director (based in Moshi, Tanzania)