Religious Tourism in Uganda

Religious Tourism in Uganda: Uganda’s indigenous religion includes Christianity and Islam. Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in the country with about 85% of the population is Christian denominated. Christians are primarily divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants who are mostly Anglicans but also including Pentecostals and others Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, and Presbyterians. Uganda has also a reasonable population of the Moslems community who were the first non-indigenous religion to reach this country through the Arabs. Muslims began arriving from the East coast of Africa in the 1830’s while the British explorers made their way here in the 1860’s. After learning some of the teachings of the Christian religion, the Kabaka (King) of Baganda kingdom requested that the Queen of England sends missionaries to Uganda. The first Protestant missionaries arrived in 1877 and they were later followed by French Catholic missionaries in 1879. The two denominations soon began a rivalry in the courts which was respected by the local culture and helped to spread the religion. 

Religious Tourism in Uganda

Christianity in Uganda 

After King Mutesa was told about a simple story of Christianity, he became very enthusiastic about Christianity and asked Stanley to write a letter to Queen Victoria of England, appealing for missionaries.  The letter was published in The Daily Telegraph newspaper in England on 15th November 1875. Hence this was how Christianity started in Uganda. In two years later, Christianity first came to Uganda when eight missionaries from the Church Missionary Society arrived in 1877.  The Christian faith was originally preached only to the immediate members of the court of King Mutesa, Kabaka (king) of Buganda however, later the gospel was preached to all people. However, Christianity has got some challenges where by some Christian churches have received threats of violence and some Christian converts have been attacked, killed, and excommunicated by Muslim family members. The government also refuses to register some churches that have been ruled as cults rather than religions. Local authorities have also detained certain individuals for practicing non-registered religions. Those that have been found guilty have been sentenced to pay a fine and to complete community service. Additionally, the law prohibits the practice and congregation of any political party that is based on a religion. Missionaries together with several Ugandans initiated the “born again” revival, which spread throughout Uganda.

Islam in Uganda

The second highest population of religious believers are the Moslems that are also among the Religious Tourism in Uganda. The Moslem community covers about 12% of the population and the other 1.6% practices are shared by other branches of Islam, such as Shia, Ahmadiyya, just to mention a few. Muslims began arriving from the East coast of Africa in the 1830’s in Uganda for trade. The king of Buganda kingdom was first converted to Islam before inviting Christian missionaries who initially helped the spread of the religion. In 1971, the country had its first Muslim president that is Idi Amin Dada. His immigration policies led to the removal of large numbers of Asians from the country which reduced the number of Muslims in Uganda. Today, the biggest populations of Muslims can be found in the central and eastern regions of the country. Islam worship places have been one of the tourist attractions in Uganda such as the Gadaffi Mosque, and Kasubi Mosque. These places offer great site views Kampala city including the 7 hills of Kampala. Gadaffi mosque is the most visited site in Kampala making it one of the sightseeing places in Kampala capital city. According to the 2014 National Census, 13 percent of Ugandans adhered to Islam. Most Muslims are Sunni, with a large minority of Ahmadis. The Iganga District in the east of Uganda has the highest percentage of Muslims. Notable Moslems are also in areas of Mpigi and Masaka districts

Other Beliefs in Uganda

A small population practices indigenous religions, Buddhism, the Baha’i Faith, or Hinduism. Indigenous beliefs are typically practiced in conjunction with the other more widely practiced religions. For example, around 27% of the population believes that reverence of spirits and remembrance of ancestors can protect them from bad luck. Despite the constitutional provisions for the protection of freedom of religion, cases of religious persecution have been reported. A small number of Jews live in communities in eastern Uganda, the descendants of converts to Judaism in the 1920s. Until 1972, when Asians were expelled from Uganda, large numbers of Sikhs and Hindus lived throughout the country; in recent years, with returning South Asian practitioners, Sikhism and Hinduism have been re-established in the country.

The Bahai Faith in Uganda started to grow in 1951 and in four years’ time. There were 500 Bahai temple is in 80 localities, including 13 Bahai Local Spiritual Assemblies, representing 30 tribes, and had dispatched 9 pioneers to other African locations. Following the reign of Idi Amin when the Bahai Faith was banned and the murder of Bahai Hand of the Cause Enoch Olinga and his family, the community continues to grow though estimates of the population range widely from 19,000 to 105,000 and the community’s involvements have included diverse efforts to promote the welfare of the Ugandan people. One of only seven Bahai Houses of Worship in the world, known as Mother Temple of Africa, is located on the outskirts of Kampala in Kikaya.

Religious Tourism in Uganda
Bahai Temple – Religious Tourism in Uganda

Traditional Beliefs

No religion – About one percent of Uganda’s populations follow traditional religions only. Only 0.9% of Ugandans claim no religion. The Uganda Humanist Association is a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union has been registered since 1996. Most Ugandans freely choose a religion to belong since it’s their right.

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