13 February 2019

Kenya: Leave Fridays for Worship, Say Muslims on Official Functions

Muslims in Lamu have decried a trend by government officials to hold public functions on Fridays.

Led by clerics, the residents said that Friday is their day of worship and should not be interfered with.

Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday, they complained that since the beginning of 2019, there has been an increase in official functions held on Fridays, hence disrupting their prayers as many people are forced to attend the functions instead of going to the mosque.

FRIDAY EVENTS

Just last week, Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui visited Lamu on a Friday where he launched water projects.

And two weeks ago, government officials led by the secretary of administration in the state department of Public Works, Mr Stephen Ikua, officially launched construction and rehabilitation of jetties worth Sh671 million on Friday. They also visited the Lamu Port site at Kililana.

Coast Inter-Faith Council of Clerics (CICC) chairman Mohamed Abdulkadir accused the national and county governments of using the Muslim day of prayer for "worldly functions", a move they said contravened Islamic teachings and doctrines.

Mr Abdulkadir claimed that the national government is deliberately trying to curtail Islamic worship in the region by having events on Fridays.

He said despite their efforts to engage the provincial administration in Lamu to have functions organised on other days, the trend still continues.

"It's very clear that Muslims pray on Friday. How then do we have official functions being held every single Friday in Lamu? I think this is a deliberate ploy to lock out the people of Lamu from those functions. There are so many days in a week to choose from. Why can't they have all these events then?" he posed.

PRAYER SCHEDULES

Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Lamu County chairman Abubakar Shekuwe said official events that have to be held on Fridays have to factor in time so as to ensure prayer schedules of locals aren't interfered with.

Mr Shekuwe proposed that functions that are urgent and have to be conducted on a Friday, should be held in the morning so as to pave the way for worship.

"It's inappropriate to have events held on Fridays. We just don't want events on that day. It's a day of prayer and worship. If such meetings are of urgency, then they should be held during the morning so that the rest of the day serves its religious purpose. But generally, we need Fridays left alone," said Mr Shekuwe.

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