The Star (Nairobi)

28 July 2012

Kenya: Mudavadi Tells Muslims to Debate the Terror Bill

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has asked Islamic scholars and clerics to scrutinise the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2012 and give recommendations on contentious clauses. He was speaking to Muslim clerics at Mombasa Women's Hall during an iftar dinner. Mudavadi urged them to help the government fight terrorism.

He told the clerics not to hesitate since the constitution necessitates public participation on matters touching pertaining to Kenyans. "We don't want laws that will oppress one part of the nation or one religion.

"Rather those that will conform to the constitution and respect human rights," said Mudavadi. The UDF presidential candidate asked Muslims not to blindly oppose the bill. The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya and Mombasa governor hopeful Suleiman Shahbal have opposed the bill saying it will be used to victimise Muslims.

Mudavadi said Islamic religious teachers should be recognised and protected by law. He said they should be given training accorded to other teachers. "They should be paid like the other teachers, through the government," said Mudavadi adding that spiritual education is important in the country's peace. UDF chairman Hassan Osman told the clerics to unite with other religious leaders in the country to preach peace. He said no one in Kenya should be treated as a second class citizens.

Shahbal urged the Muslims to vote for Mudavadi in the next general election since he does not discriminate against anyone. "We don't need to sign MoU with him because he does not have religious, racial or tribal discrimination.

We have seen other MoUs. We leave it to God. We are sure this gentleman will be with us like brothers and he won't forsake us," said Shahbal. Mudavadi on his part said Mombasa residents must elect knowledgeable leaders if the county is to compete with others economically. "Please don't leave them at home. Let them play in front so that they can get the victory that will allow them to ensure more benefits for the county," said the DPM.

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