Kenya bans foreign Muslim preachers
17 January 2014, 08:00
Mombasa - The Kenyan police on Thursday banned foreign Muslim preachers from conducting sermons in Mosques in order to curb rising cases of extremism in Mombasa.
Mombasa County CID commander Henry Ondiek said some of the preachers are accused of using pulpits to radicalize youths and sowing hatred in various mosques in Majengo, Kisauni, and Likoni.
Ondiek said detectives are looking for a Tanzania cleric suspected to be among key leaders. "We have had incidents where preachers who across our borders are engaging in violence sermons in mosques. We are on high alert, will not allow such foreign preachers in our Mosques." Ondiek said.
According to intelligence, Sheikh Ramadhan Juma from Tanzania had early slipped through a police dragnet when officers raided Masjid Mosque in Majengo later last year.
The mosque is suspected to have ties with the Al-Shabaab terror group blamed for being behind series grenade attacks in the county by funding and recruiting Muslim youths to join the militant group in Somalia and later carry out offensives attacks in the country.
"Unconfirmed reports indicate that Sheikh Juma had sneaked out of the country but we are looking for him," Ondeik told journalists in Mombasa.
According to reliable police sources, Sheikh Juma has been profiled as having links with the terror group after he arrived in the country from Tanzania.
He is viewed as the successor of the slain, Sheikh Ibrahim Ismael, who took over from another slain cleric Sheikh Aboud Rogo.
The CID commander said police officers have identified some of the foreign preachers mainly from Tanzania and are being monitored. He warned that those found of aiding them will also be arrested.
"We commend the peaceful coexistence between the interfaith we want the Imam to take full control of their Mosque and ensure no foreign preachers are allowed in Mosques and Madrasa," Ondiek said.
Police have vowed to enforce a notice barring extremist preaching in Masjid Musa and Sakina Mosque in Mombasa.
A special team set up to counter radicalization activities has summoned three prominent business people accused of funding the extremist youths to plot terror attacks in the country.
The alleged financier includes members of board of trustees at Sakina Mosque where radical youths forceful injected Council of Islamic Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) imams, Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed Idris.
"We have summoned and interrogated key suspects supporting and funding radicalization with a view of getting evidence of charging them in court," Ondiek said.
Six Mombasa youths were last week arrested as they attempted to cross into Somalia through Kenya.
Senior officers leading the investigation said the six were in constants contact with suspected Al-Shabaab members in Somalia. The communication was established from mobile phones confiscated from the six.
Lamu East police commander, Samson Obara said they have contacted officers from cyber crime unit to assist in apprehend key Al-Shabaab recruiters in the country.