Cover Image
close this bookAIDS Education Through Imams: A Spiritually Motivated Community Effort in Uganda (UNAIDS, 1998, 35 p.)
close this folderCountry profile
View the documentIslam in Uganda
View the documentAIDS in Uganda
View the documentHIV/AIDS Worldwide

Islam in Uganda

Following a lengthy period of devastation, Uganda is now rebuilding, with healthy but fluctuating economic growth rates. The cash economy is heavily dependent on coffee, while the population is sustained mainly on subsistence agriculture.

Total population (1997)


Urban population (1997)


Annual population growth rate


Infant mortality rate

97(per 1,000 live births)

Life expectancy





Literacy rate





Per capita GDP (US$)


Surface area

241,038 sq. km

All figures are from UNAIDS country profile for Uganda, August 1997.

According to the latest population figures, 16% of Uganda’s 20 million people are Muslim (compared to Catholic 33%, Protestant 33%, and indigenous beliefs 18%). Muslim leaders feel this number is an underestimate and cite figures between 20% and 30% of the population.

The central organizing body of the Muslim community is the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, headed by His Eminence the Mufti. Under the Mufti, there are 33 district religious leaders called District Khadis. Under each District Khadi there are approximately six County Sheikhs. Each County Sheikh oversees 30 to 40 Imams, each of whom heads a mosque. Every Imam is the spiritual leader for approximately 75 families.

“Addressing the ties between religiousissues and health issues hasunited Muslim leaders with theircommunities.”

There are certain traditional Muslim practices that have the potential to increase the risk of exposure to the HIV virus. These practices include male circumcision (as sometimes practised in the rural areas with one unsterilized razor being used for several infants), ablution of the dead (if individuals fail to use protective gloves when cleaning bodily orifices) and possibly polygamy (although there is currently no evidence associating polygamy with increased risk of HIV).

Let there arise out of you a band ofpeople inviting all that is good, Enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong:
They are the ones to attain felicity.