LEST WE FORGET
15th 2010 is a day which will remain etched for a long time in the
minds of Muslims in the country.
was on this sad day that Jamia Mosque, the largest Islamic institution
in the country came literary under attack from goons with the police
providing support to them in their attempts to storm the mosque.
Several people lost their lives while scores were injured after
the police used live bullets on what was planned to be a peaceful
The police went further and aimed bullets at the mosque which shattered
the mosque windows and narrowly missed worshippers within the mosque.
This day saw goons attacking and destroying Muslim owned properties
while the police whose mission is Utumishi kwa wote (service to
humanity) sat by watching as gangs destroyed properties worth hundreds
of millions of shillings in the Central Business District around
Hundreds of worshippers were trapped inside the mosque as the police
virtually threw a cordon around the mosque preventing worshippers
from leaving or entering the mosque. An investigation was promised
to unravel what went wrong but to this day, we are yet to be told
why police aimed their guns at innocent people. While the catalyst
appeared to be the detention of the Jamaican preacher Sheikh Abdallah
Feysal, series of events in the past were pointers that this was
the result of an orchestrated campaign against Muslims.
a long time, concerns have been expressed about the open unfairness
on the part of the police towards Muslims. On that particular day,
this was proven as the unfair policies came to the fore. The January
15th incident was the culmination of a series of events over the
years which have unfortunately not gone well with the Muslim community.
Official discrimination of Muslims has been the norm since independence
and even with the numerous complaints little has been done to reverse
this trend. Since the so-called war on terror had been in place,
Muslims have been roundly accused of involvement in the vice and
this has been used as an excuse to deny them their constitutional
The effects of piracy in the Indian Ocean have also spiraled in
the country with the Somali community (read Muslims) roundly accused
of being beneficiaries from the proceeds of this crime. Media reports
without any shred of evidence have consistently accused Somalis
of using piracy money to buy properties resulting in hike in property
It is some of these vents which is driving xenophobic tendencies
witnessed last year on during this day when Muslims came undervicious
and an unprecedented attack. We where on the brink of seeing a sectarian
conflict which could have had devastating consequences for the country.
Vital lessons need to be derived from this event which could be
used to foster good relations among the different religious communities
in the country.
Kenyans have for the past 47 years lived in peace and harmony in
a multi cultural, multi ethnic and multi religious society and for
a large part of this period, mutual existence has been the norm.
There is need to cultivate a culture where this important principle
is respected and maintained as it is this which will form the building
block which will hold the country together.
In this regard, the government, the media and individuals all have
a responsibility in seeing to it that unfairness and discrimination
is cast asunder while mutual respect and tolerance is cultivated