NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – A section of Muslim youth leaders have come out in strong defense of the UN report linking Nairobi’s Riyadha Mosque to terrorism activities and have cautioned against a planned fundraising of more money for the mosque scheduled for August 26.
The group supporting the UN Monitoring report on Eritrea and Somalia now claims that up to 50 Muslim youths had been recruited through the mosque and that it is no secret to the security agencies.
““Pumwani Riyadha Mosque maratib in whole fully, agree, accept, adopt and endorse the report in all its aspects as a true reflection of current events and persons mentioned, ” a statement read by a representative of the youth groups said.
The youth leaders told journalists at a press conference on Sunday afternoon that they have evidence of many youths who have been recruited through the mosque and called for a thorough investigation by the government.
Sunday’s press conference was attended by various youth leaders who have vowed to work closely with the government once a transparent investigation is opened.
“Majengo being a cosmopolitan and predominantly Muslim and the abounding poverty is ripe and fertile ground for recruitment of our youths and minors,” said Chairman Athman Mponda Mponda.
A report released recently by the UN monitoring group for Somalia and Eritrea said the Mosque had been used as a fund raising conduit for Somalia’s Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab militia. It cited contributions made by, among others, Cabinet Minister Najib Balala and nominated MP Amina Abdalla, as some of the funds that ended up in the terror network’s pockets.
On Friday, Mr Balala – who has denied knowledge of his donation being transmitted to fund terror – attended lunchtime prayers at the mosque and announced that he will be leading a major fundraising there to raise money for the completion of the five-storey mosque.
He has denied that the Sh200,000 he contributed to the mosque were diverted for terror activities as alleged by the UN monitoring report on Somalia and Eritrea.
During the Sunday press briefing, the Muslim leaders maintained that they will not allow the planned fundraising to take place at the mosque.
The youths said Amir Ahmad Iman who is named in the report as leading terrorism activities in the country had used unorthodox means to take over the leadership of the mosque to enable him channel money to the terror group, Al Shabaab.
Iman is a former secretary of the mosque and is said to be currently leading a group of the Al-Shabaab group in Somalia.
On Sunday, those supporting the UN report addressed journalists opposite the mosque still under construction and a few meters away from where another faction opposed to the report was holding their prayers.
The differences between the two groups could be seen as both of them have mounted speakers for teaching of their worshipers in this month of Ramadan. Preachers of both groups were busy preaching.
According to the UN report, Mr Iman currently controls between 200 and 500 fighters, majority of them non-Somali Kenyans from Nairobi’s Majengo slums.
Mponda who was in company of several imams said they are the founders of the mosque and admitted they had inducted Iman to the institution before he vanished.
He asked security agencies to take serious the report and take necessary action to avert a major crisis in the making in the area.
He added the planned harambee will not take place because they had not been consulted.
“We will not allow it happen because there is controversy regarding the end user of the money. Those invited should keep off because this is our mosque,” he said as a group of youths shouted Takbir.