, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – Muslim political and human rights leaders on Friday demanded the immediate re-opening of four shut mosques in Mombasa, saying they are ready to facilitate talks between radical youths and the State.
Senators Billow Kerrow (Mandera), Omar Hassan Omar (Mombasa County) and Wajir County Woman Representative Fatuma Ibrahim told a news conference at Parliament Buildings that mosques are a sacred place of worship and must not be used to promote radicalization.
They added what the police were doing is not genuine and could only lead to further radicalization of youth.
“What the State is doing is just but profiling the mosques; they should engage leaders to come to the bottom of the matter,” they said.
Kerrow said Muslim leaders were scheduled to meet on Sunday to discuss a lasting solution to end radicalization of the Muslim youth.
Senator Hassan on his part urged the Judiciary to play its role in ensuring that the State observed due legal process in handling of the suspects.
Ibrahim, who is also former commissioner at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, urged the intelligence and security organs should improve the way they are conducting the operations.
“Our intelligence (service), I don’t think we can call it intelligence, I think they are amateurs, because they don’t collect intelligence, two years ago those mosques were raided. Again the same style is used to raid and those ones taken to court will not be found with any evidence they will be released; another two years again comes, they relax because they sleep on the job, they come again, raid the mosques and close them,” the Wajir County Woman Representative stated.
Bura MP Hassan Wario who spoke on behalf of seven other National Assembly legislators reiterated the call to open the mosques saying the action was against freedom of worship as provided for in the Constitution.
“If indeed there is an intelligence system in Kenya, then they should be able to track the troublemakers to their homes and arrest them. People don’t sleep in mosques, they come there to worship and after that, it’s locked up. People are not even allowed to live or sleep there, unfortunately some people don’t know there is no drawer, cabinet, sofa set or a table in there,” Wario said.
At a press conference held on Friday in Mombasa, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims chairman Professor Abdul-Ghafur El-Busaidy, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and Kisauni MP Rashid Bezimba said the closure will only escalate tensions by provoking religious emotions.
Police however on Thursday told Muslims affected by the closing of four mosques at the Coast to look for alternative places of worship.
“Let them go and worship in other mosques,” said Mombasa County Police Commander Robert Kitur on Thursday evening.
Police insisted no one would be allowed into Musa, Sakina, Swafaa and Mina mosques until investigations were completed and worshippers selected new committees and imams to manage the mosques.
Hundreds of GSU and regular police officers have sealed off the mosques.