As the presidential taskforce on the infamous Shakahola Forest mass grave-field incident undertakes public participation meetings throughout the country to gather Kenyans’ views, Muslim leaders have said the Government should take the blame for the massacre that has seen more than 300 people dead.
Saying the duty to ensure that the lives and properties of every person in Kenyan rests squarely on the Government, they wondered how a pastor can turn a whole forest into a killing field even as local administrators and security agencies watch.
Furthermore, the Muslim leaders decried what they termed ‘very limited’ representation in the taskforce of 17 members with only 3 Muslims. They however, were quick to urge Muslim faithful in the country to come out in large numbers to give their views on matters governing the conduct, operations and structure of religious institutions.
Reflecting on the government’s crackdown on Muslim faithful in view of radicalisation, the leaders observed that religious extremism cuts across all faiths, saying Muslims were being targeted unfairly.
They said the Shakahola massacre incident was evidence enough that religious extremism can thrive among adherents of all faiths and thus the law should not apply selectively.
“As we reflect on this tragedy, what is coming out clearly is that Shakahola massacre has brought out the double standards meted on Muslims in the so called war on terror over the years. Muslims have been pained by the arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, extra judicial killings and disappearances where hundreds of people have lost their lives in the most fragrant abuse of law.” Said Abdullahi Abdi, Chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) during a media conference at Jamia Mosque Nairobi.
Abdullahi, though, said Muslims do recognize that the illegalities have greatly reduced in recent months, wishing that no Kenyan regardless of race, tribe or religion will ever fall victim to such acts of injustices.
The Muslim leaders averred that while it is important that Government needs to be extra vigilant to prevent extremist incidents, the Shakahola massacre should not be used to frustrate the activities of Muslim institutions, adding that such harassment should immediately stop.
“From the happenings of Shakahola it is clear that there are gaps in the current legislation governing religious organizations and this has led to the mushrooming of briefcase outfits which have taken advantage of Kenyans by promoting teachings which are inconsistent with religious or national values. There is therefore need to relook at all the legislation touching on this matter so as to ensure that the activities of religious organizations operate in an environment which is consistent with their values and national interests, protect life and property and uphold good governance.” He added.