Security was beefed up around most churches in Mombasa yesterday as Christians held prayers condemning the attacks on six churches by youths last week. A delegation of Muslim clerics went round the affected churches preaching peace and calling for restraint by the Christians.
Police patrolled areas around the Neno Evangelism church in Ziwani, PCEA Mwandoni, Ziwani's Pentecostal Assemblies of God and Jesus Celebration Centre at Buxton among others. Screening was intensified in most church gates to most to ensure security for the faithful. Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao and senior members Sheikh Mahamud Kijumbe and Sheikh Sineno Abdurahman were at PCEA Mwandoni and Neno Evangelism at Ziwani.
Accompanied by Kisauni MP Hassan Joho, the leaders called for religious tolerance, adding that the clergy should not attack each because all Kenyans have the freedom of worship. "Sheikh Aboud Rogo was not killed by the church. We condemn his killing, but we also condemn the attacks on churches," said Sheikh Ngao.
He said according to the Quran, places of worship - church, temple, mosque and others - should be respected. On Saturday, Mvita MP Najib Balala, who was at an SDA crusade at Tudor primary in Makande, said Rogo's killing should not be used as a scapegoat to cause violence or attack churches. "Justice must both be to Rogo and to the people of the church. We can't live with religious, racial or tribal divisions," Balala said.
Joho echoed his sentiments yesterday and asked said politicians, especially those from the Coast, to stop making rhetoric statements from Nairobi and other regions yet the issues are happening in Mombasa. "Taking away life is taking away humanity. It does not matter the religion, race or tribe. Life is life," he said.
Balala said his Mvita CDF officials will look into the modalities of using the CDF emergency fund to help rebuild the SDA church at Ziwani near Saba Saba that was damaged by rowdy youths. Joho has mobilised businessmen Hailu Asfaw and another to rebuild the PCEA curch in Mwandoni.