, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 30 – Muslim leaders have called on the US government to peg their financial assistance to Kenya in the fight against terror on the respect for human rights in the conduct of security agents.
The leaders drawn from the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, the Muslim Human Rights Forum and the National Muslim Leaders Forum said operations such as Usalama Watch should therefore be a thing of the past following US President Barack Obama’s visit.
The Muslim leaders said Kenyan security forces should heed President Obama’s advice and involve Muslim communities in the effort to prevent extremist acts.
By, “cracking down,” on the entire community, the leaders said, the government risked — as President Obama had cautioned — alienating more youth.
“There has been exclusion of Muslim leadership to some extent, and two, disrespect of the community leadership,” Executive Director of the Muslim Human Rights Forum, Al Amin Kimathi, accused.
Operation Usalama Watch involved a police swoop in Eastleigh and other areas that saw hundreds, who couldn’t prove their citizenship, detained at the Kasarani sports stadium last year.
Muslim leaders including the Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale decried the alleged manner in which the operation was carried out, terming it a violation of human rights.
The European Union itself has previously taken issue with what Muslim Human Rights groups claim to be extrajudicial killings of Muslim clerics.
The EU’s representative to Kenya Lodewijk Briet in 2013 in a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Interior Cabinet Secretary stated:
“We are concerned by continuous and credible reports of unlawful killings by the police and see these as proof of the urgent need for renewed momentum behind police reform.”
Muslim leaders have previously also taken issue with security operations carried out within mosques in Mombasa terming it a violation of their religious freedoms.
President Uhuru Kenyatta however defended the move saying religious spaces lost their sanctity when used in support of extremism.
During President Obama’s July 24 to 26 visit he however acknowledged that it was critical to work hand in hand with the Muslim community and not alienate them in order to counter extremism.