Muslim politicians demand immediate opening of closed mosques
22 November 2014, 07:55
Nairobi – Muslim leaders have called on the government to open four mosques closed in Mombasa following the ongoing security operation to stop radicalization of youths.
The more than seven leaders from North Eastern, Nairobi and Coast regions led by the Mombasa Senator, Hassan Omar, said the closure of mosques contravenes the constitutional freedom of worship which is provocative and contribute to more radicalization.
“The government should know that the closure of mosques is not a Mombasa issues but a national matter for Muslims. Mosques don’t commit crime and should be opened immediately. It started by targeting the killing of Muslim leaders and now closing of mosques,” said Omar.
He criticized the Judiciary for failure to defend the Constitution to protect the rights of citizens, particularly, in fining rounded up suspects got in mosques where he argued that most are innocent.
“The Judiciary should stop the kangaroo way of detaining people indefinitely because this will lead to more radicalization. The Judiciary should ask critical questions and defend the Constitution. The government is polarizing and profiling all aspects of Muslim in security operation, and this should stop in order to find the long lasting solution,” said Omar.
Mandera Senator, Billow Kerrow said since the government’s intelligence has failed it, there is need to adopt friendly ways in the security operation such as engaging Muslim leaders and the community for it to be a success.
“Many youths have been arrested, some go missing and others have died and the problem is even becoming bigger. The operation should be intelligence-led to arrest suspects from their homes that round up innocent people during prayers,” said Kerrow.
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He added that the government’s claims of police seizing ammunitions from a series of raiding mosques is intended to blind people and wrongly profile the Muslim community.
“Why should police raid mosques at night if they know are doing the right thing? We, Muslims don’t sleep in mosques neither do mosques have cabins nor secured places to keep property. It is unbelievable to hear ammunition has been found in mosques and the operation should be conducted during the day to establish the truth,” said Kerrow.
Wajir County MP, Fatma Ibrahim said Muslim traders around mosques are incurring losses as a result of police operation where their goods are damaged then women and children harassed and even some arrested.
“The Kenyan intelligence is not intelligence but amateurs to profile and arrest everyone. The government should relook into these amateurs to provided proper intelligence for the arrest of responsible suspects,” said Ibrahim
“Schools have closed and the parents’ wish is for their children to go to mosques to learn. How can these children go to mosques yet they fear arrest and some mosques shut down?” she added.
However, Ibrahim urged parents to ensure their children don’t fall in the hands of “criminals radicalizing youths.”
The Musa, Sakina, Swafaa and Mina mosques are among the four shut down in Mombasa, leaders are calling for their immediate opening.
They revealed that they will be convening a special conference on Sunday, bringing together the entire Muslim leadership to look into the government’s move of closing mosques in addition to seeking ways of finding a long lasting solution to the challenge of radicalizing youths.
The leaders were addressing the press at Parliament Buildings.
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