Even the Evangelical church wing, which on Wednesday spoke with bitterness about the terror they had suffered in the hands of Al Shabaab militants, strove to draw a distinction between the terror group and the Muslim community.
The joint calls for calm came a day after Muslim leaders, whose members have also suffered abductions and even deaths in the hands of Al Shabbab gun, grenade, and bomb wielders, said they were forming defence groups to protect churches following the Sunday attack on a congregation in Garissa.
The leaders drawn from the Catholic, Anglican, and Evangelical churches, and Muslims in a show of unity passionately asked Kenyans to forge a common stand if the fight against terrorism was to be won.
They further said that they would not allow the country to slide into inter-religious conflicts, as the recent attacks in churches and other social places were the works of criminals who should be pursued and prosecuted regardless of their faith.
Catholic primate John Cardinal Njue while appealing to Kenyans to be “instruments of peace”, said Catholic bishops would be meeting next week to address the matter.
“In the meantime, I am appealing for calm and acceptance of one another by avoiding anything that could bring tension,’’ he said.
Njue also appealed to politicians to desist from issuing statements that could ignite tension. “It is important to try to be instruments of peace by making it possible in the minds and the hearts of our people that which is bound to create harmony and not hatred,” he added.
He appealed to young people not to be “carried away by the wind” that emanates from political statements by politicians and end up doing the wrong things.
Chairman of Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya Sheikh Mohamed Idris said the killing of innocent people at the place of worship must be condemned and the suspects arrested and prosecuted.
“Most people go to churches as they are the only place of worship, if the suspects pursued them and killed them in church, this must be stopped at all costs,” added Sheikh Idris.
He said the Government must pursue the suspects and arrest them and stop the killings at places of worship. “The shedding of blood in church must never happen again. The church is not a place of death,” he said
He described the suspects as “inhuman and worse than devils” when they walk into a church and shoot at people worshipping God. “The suspects are criminals. No Muslim can open fire at another person worshipping God,” he added.
The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) appealed to Kenyans to avoid being divided along religious lines following the attacks, which they described as the work of cowards.
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