25 June 2012

Kenya: Muslims Differ On Bill to Fight Terror in Country

The Association of Muslim Organisations in Kenya has broken ranks with a section of Muslim leaders by calling on the government to urgently enact the Terrorism Prevention Bill 2012 to address the growing terror threats in the country. Declaring their support for the once unpopular bill, AMOK officials said the new legislation will reduce suspicion that has existed over the years between the security agencies and members of the Islamic faith.

The AMOK's stand comes just a week after Dujis MP Aden Duale threatened to mobilise Kenyans to reject the bill when it is brought to Parliament. The MP claimed that there is a plot by the government to portray members of the Muslim community as terrorists. But the organisation's director general Fazul Mahamed said the proposed legislation is a long term solution to increased challenges facing the country including continuing foreign terror alerts, travel advisories and alleged recruitment of youth into al-Shabaab.

A group of Sheikhs, who accompanied Fazul, at a press conference in Nairobi said the country was in dire need of answers following grenade attacks, warnings by foreign governments including the the US government over alleged attacks and seizure of chemicals suspected to be used in making of explosives.

They said the current bill will be beneficial to Muslims including the rights of people arrested on suspicion of being terrorists or accomplices and compensation of victims of terror activities. "The current bill safeguards the security of our nation against any form of terror attacks and it will prevent any recruitment of our youths across the boarders to join terror groups," said Fazul

He said a few years ago Kenyans used to consider terrorism and terror attacks as an international problem, but it has now manifested itself and become a Kenyan local problem. The bill is currently before the Cabinet and proposes a number of tough laws to control and stop Kenyans from engaging and associating with terrorism. Among the recommendations in the bill are monitoring of funding of terror groups and stiff penalties for those who associate with suspected terrorists.

Duale a scheme to profile all the Somali Muslim business people as terrorists had been hatched. He singled out the killing Samir Khan on Mackinon Road in Voi as one of the cases where Muslims have fallen victims to bad laws. AMOK chairman Athman Mponda differed with the MP by claiming that all the concerns raised would only be handled if a legislation was in place to govern the war on terrorism. "Why would you want to fight a legislation that wants to protect you? Leaders should stop misleading people about Islam. Islam is not about criminals and murders," said Mponda

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